Participating in a Gratitude Study

A month ago, I signed up to be a participant in a psychology student’s senior thesis project about gratitude. I was very excited as I had been doing a good job keeping up with a gratitude journal I had begun over winter break.

I thought that being a part of the study would provide me further motivation to jot down my thoughts on a daily basis. So, I emailed the student researcher to express my interest to participate in the study. I waited in anticipation, and in two days I received her response: (more…)

Questions to Help You Declutter: Make Your Own List

When you are first learning about minimalism you are bound to come across lists of questions to help you declutter. These lists may include questions such as “Have I used this in the past year?” “Will I use it often?” “Is this item a duplicate?” I struggle to use these lists effectively. The purpose of these lists is to help you determine what to keep (translation: what adds value to your life). The challenge is that what to keep (adds value) is different for everyone. Pre-made lists to help you declutter aren’t helpful, or at least haven’t reached their full potential, because these lists don’t reflect your individual values and approach to minimalism. Luckily it is not hard to create such a list.

For this reason, I believe it is worth your time to develop a list of questions that relate to your own brand of minimalism. In this article I will show you how I developed my own list of questions to help me declutter. This is a fun, creative process, and I highly encourage you to make it your own. This list is for you, no one else ever has to see it, and at its core it is really about what inspires you.

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The Attraction of Minimalist Photography and Staged Rooms

Last night when I got home, my dad shared with me a book he picked up from the library called The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection by Louisa Thomsen Brits. My first impression was that this was my kind of book. It seemed like a light read, so I read the introduction and flipped through the photos before I went to bed.

Doing this, I finally realized what I find so attractive about minimalist spaces and associated photography. The photos in this book highlighted the way we engage with objects. Tables, chairs, and books become the table, the chair, and the book. We use these objects each day, but in minimalist photos these objects have a greater presence. There are no distractions. Without clutter, these objects have space to breathe, and this gives the viewer permission to do so as well.

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My Summer Collage

This summer at the Stanford Inn I had the opportunity of doing an Imagination Playshop with Joan Stanford. Joan’s approach is not dependent on having artistic ability. Through her workshop my understanding of the purpose of creating art was expanded. I have come to see how it has the potential to explore and organize scattered ideas and provide unique personal insights. In this blog post I am sharing more specifics of my personal playshop and some of the art I have created since.

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Sophomore Shadow Trip

Over Spring Break, I traveled to New York with the Sophomore Shadow Program. A trip organized and paid for by Beloit College. In New York, I was hosted by Eva Crawford, a Beloit alumni who works at AFS-USA, a study abroad organization. Eva works in the marketing department with eight other people. I shadowed her for two days. During this time, I was able to learn about and work on some of the team’s ongoing projects.

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Photo by Leeanna Shultz

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Comfort is Overvalued

In the past week I have received the message, “Comfort is overvalued” twice.

First, within Roadmap: The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life, a book which promotes self-discovery as a means to developing one’s career. Roadtrip Nation, the author of the book, is an organization that organizes cross country road trips where participants have the opportunity to meet with professionals who practice their passion. Within these stories I was moved by the way that many of these professionals re-made themselves based on their evolving interests.

The second occasion was at a Black Lives Matter talk about whiteness. The panelists were discussing civil discourse, and recognizing that it is not irregular to feel discomfort when discussing identity. It is fine to feel discomfort, even anger, but to learn, you need to stick around and participate in a dialogue in spite of discomfort.

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