Yes, we can technically call this midsummer. We are past the longest (or shortest depending on your side of the equator) day of the year and we are working our way to the ‘dog days,’ if you will. But that doesn’t mean it is too late to make the most of what’s left and practice a little minimalism in July and August. Perhaps though you aren’t sure how. Here are 10 tips to help you live a little more simply this summer.
Summer Cleaning. Granted cleaning for some can be major work. But if you aren’t currently living like a Hoarders superstar then a little summer cleaning can be both advantageous and therapeutic. Start by clearing out the things closest to reach; the things you have accumulated already this year. Regift it, upcycle it, or sell it. If you have books or computers or other educational items you may want to check with after school programs to see if they accept donations. If you have sporting goods or media equipment (or even building supplies/tools) you may want to turn to Craigslist to make a little money from a sale. Price reasonable or even low not to turn a profit but to rid yourself of unwanted clutter.
Invest in a hammock. This particular idea probably needs no explanation. However, I found the following definition of hammock on Wikipedia and I thought it especially fitting:
A hammock is a sling made of fabric, rope, or netting, suspended between two points, used for swinging, sleeping, or resting. It normally consists of one or more cloth panels, or a woven network of twine or thin rope stretched with ropes between two firm anchor points such as trees or posts. Hammocks were developed by native inhabitants of tropical regions for sleeping. Later, they were used aboard ships by sailors to enable comfort and maximize available space, and by explorers or soldiers traveling in wooded regions. Today they are popular around the world for relaxation; they are also used as a lightweight bed on camping trips. The hammock is often seen as symbol of summer, leisure, relaxation and simple, easy living.
Take up a new hobby. I have always wanted to make my own beer. I vowed at Christmas when I received a small beer making kit that I would learn to make it and make my own pony keg for my birthday party (June 27). I am proud to report that I did and while it tasted more like cheap malt than a fine IPA the point is that I took up a new hobby and one I really enjoy. Let’s face it. Most of us have said: “I’ve always wanted to try…” at some point or another. So why not finish that sentence and take up a new hobby now!
Picnic. There is something very magical about “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat. While no one in the painting is truly eating, they are lounging about and I can only imagine that some bloke brought a 6″ from the local deli and is just enjoying watching people pass by. So why not give it a try? Instead of eating out, call some friends and have a picnic. You can pack some sandwiches, a chip or twenty, and some great raspberry lemonade. The afternoon will pass quickly as you chat, catch up, and share your summer tales.
Don’t go shopping. Who needs the hassle? Wait, maybe I should clarify. Do shop for groceries, if you must. I want you to eat. But avoid the call of Target or Old Navy or some other seasonal clothes purgatory. Here’s the real challenge. Try not to buy new clothes this summer. Unless you really have to, why not dig out last year’s summer clothes or cut up the winters clothes (think cut off jeans or sewed up khakis)? This might be a good place to start!
Hang up your car keys. Take advantage of the nice weather and get out of your car. Dust off your bike, pump up the tires, and cycle instead. It’s free, good exercise and you can feel the cool summer breeze through your hair. For extra credit, ride your bike to the local ice cream parlor and treat yourself to a summer sweet!
Take a road trip. Granted Route 66 may be long gone and I just talked about hanging up your car keys, road trips are still possible. Taking to the open road can come in a number of forms including Amtrak, Greyhound, car-share, etc. They are more eco-friendly than flying and can be the setting for some really exciting overnight trips!
Go back to school. A number of universities, career colleges, community colleges, and other schools run summer courses each summer. Most of the time the courses are in subjects like foreign language, culinary arts, computer technology, sign language, English composition, pottery, etc. A summer course could be a good way to get out of the house, meet new people, learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, or just flex your mind.
Take in a movie. One of my favorite things to do is wait for a really compelling movie to come out (sometimes the wait is longer than one would want) and make an afternoon of it. I like to see the matinee showing and spoil myself with a cherry coke, some Swedish Fish, a small popcorn, and maybe a Peppermint Patty to seal the deal. Granted, the nutritional content of this idea is minimal and the amount of preservatives, HFCS, and artificial flavorings, is appalling, you deserve a treat. Live it up and remember to turn your cell phone off!
Get fit. Early summer mornings or late summer evenings are a perfect time to take a brisk walk or a casual jog. Not only will you feel good about yourself but you’ll probably drop a few unwanted pounds as well.
We are only blessed with summer for a few months a year so make every second count!
What are you up to this summer? Do you have any minimalist ideas to share? And as always, if you enjoyed this post please consider sharing it on Facebook, tweating the link, or giving it a mention on Google+. You can find other posts like this one several times a week by visiting our website or finding us on Facebook.