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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Parreto principle and a challenge for me

I got a question today that actually got me going with this blog post... I love it when you guys take the time to ask me questions, comments... etc..  it helps me help you!  Megan, thank you...

In the book I am currently reading, the joy of less , Francine mentions the Pareto Principle which can be summed up by: "The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes" as per Wikipedia. And using the link above, you can read in more details the Pareto principle. 

Now how do you use the Pareto principle in minimalism?  Well by realising that you use 20% of your stuff 80% if the time... You wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time... You see where this is going....  The other 80 of stuff is there for what exactly??? Just in case... because it was a gift... because it may be worth something... because it's a souvenir... you name it... but it is useless!!!  Let's be REALLY honest here!

Of course if you really are into Holidays and stuff, you may have a bunch of stuff you use once a year... like Christmas, Easter, Valentines day... and I am not saying that those, because they are used once a year should go... but maybe you need to keep only 20% of that to!  Or not! 

My point is, when decluttering or becoming minimalist, you have to look at our stuff with a different set of eyes...  Megan was asking me about dishes...  and it is a question I actually get a lot....  What do you do when you get people over?

Well let me start with 2 pictures of my cupboards:

This very little amount of dishes came from that exercise and is actually all I own!!! I have no fancy dishes hidden anywhere... no fancy china either... no Christmas plates... I took out all the dishes from all the cupboards and my son, husband and I chose what we each wanted to eat in...  This is the first picture...

We each chose a plate (salad size plate), a big bowl and a smaller bowl.... what you cannot see is that we also each chose a smaller bowl for snacks. It's inside the bigger bowl underneath the white one.  Then we chose what we wanted to drink in...  We each have something for hot and cold... as well as a small tea cup...  my son and I chose a few extras...

You can see our selection in that order for both shelves:
Right: Mine
Center: my husband
Left: my son

In the second pictures I selected a few more items...  mostly to be used when I have people visiting for tea/coffee and snacks...

I did that because I realised that I was not using all those dishes... and they were just taking space.. needed to be cleaned once or twice a year... and packed and unpacked every time I moved!

Now what would I do if I was to have people over for a more extensive event?
There is at least 3 options that come to mind right away!

1) Rent dishes - it is very easy to do...

2) Ask a relative or friend's dishes if you want a matching set

3) Ask every guest to bring their favorite cover - this actually is my favorite options... because it is a really nice ice breaker! Can you imagine people talking about the history of their favorite plate and bowls??

So I really just kept the 20%... 

And this is where I am at now...  I am getting to the point where I only keep what I really use... all the time!!!  I no longer keep "what if"? or "just in case"... because over the years I've come to realise that they really are just "what if" and "just in case".

The only exception I have is Christmas decoration... but this year I actually cut it down to 20% of what I previously owned... only my absolute favorites!

And the last issue is my clothes....  I am still not completely down to the 20%...  maybe I have a few more pieces to cut down... we'll see with time...  I would say that I currently wear 80% of my wardrobe 90% of the time!

As for the challenge I was announcing in the title of this post, it comes from yesterday's post... A lovely reader made a comment that made me reflect upon my behavior... As a minimalist, I SHOULD use thrift stores more... and yet, I haven't done so to this day!  I am unsure as to how to go about doing that... but she referred me to a blog... and I am committing to visit thrift stores, buy a piece of clothes from one of them, wear it in 3 different outfits and show pictures of the outfits on this blog my the end of April!  Now if you are from Montreal, and know thrift stores, please help me out!!!

Again, thanks for reading and CHALLENGING me!!!  I love a good challenge!!!


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