Here Are My 10 Essentials - What Are Yours?

I was reading an older post by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits fame, and he mentioned a semi-regular feature on GQ called 10 Essentials.  Each entry features a designer, entrepreneur, or celebrity naming 10 things that are essential to them.


A valuable exercise

I won't link to GQ's feature, because within moments of looking I could see that it was basically a hard sell for luxury consumerism.  But I love the concept, and think it would be useful – and possibly fun – to think about the 10 things that are my essentials.

1.  What I wear

Jeans.  Almost every day I put on a pair of black or dark wash jeans.  I love the comfort and versatility of jeans (you can dress them up or down).  The ones I buy are designed for my plus-size body, but almost everyone can find a style and cut of jeans that fits them, looks and feels good, and wears well.

2.  What I also wear

Sketchers Go Walk shoes.  Affordable, comfortable, simply designed – black Go Walks* are my daily shoes.

* This blog is reader-supported.  If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission.

3.  What I wear as well

Glasses.  I'm quite near-sighted, so I've been needing and wearing glasses since I was 6.  Today, of course, I wear bifocals.  This isn't planned, but I almost always choose Anne Klein frames when it's time for a new pair.  The styling and colors seem to suit my face.

4.  What I drink

Earl Grey.  I do love a Starbucks soy latte, and of course I drink water (love it iced with lemon, lime, or mint), but I drink hot Earl Grey tea every day, even in summer.  My father was a tea drinker, and I guess I started the habit because of him.  My favorite blend is Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey, brewed for 4 minutes.  I add a splash of Coffeemate Zero Sugar French Vanilla creamer.

5.  What I eat

Fruit.  This is a little trickier, because I like a lot of foods.  My guilty pleasures are pepperoni pizza or cheese enchiladas with Mexican rice and beans.  I find it hard to pass up a chewy, freshly-baked oatmeal cookie.  I savor scrambled eggs and bacon at breakfast.  But what I look forward to every year are the locally-grown fruits I can buy right down the road from my house.  Strawberries, cherries, apricots, blackberries, plums, peaches, tomatoes, melons, and finally mandarin oranges.  I am so lucky.

6.  What I listen to

Classical radio.  KDFC from San Francisco is what I listen to on the car radio and stream on my computer while I'm working.  I'm a classically trained musician who sings opera, oratorio, Broadway show tunes, and American standards.  Classical music of all kinds from all eras feeds my soul.

7.  What I write on

Laptop.  I sometimes write my daily one sentence using the notes app on my phone, but my main writing tool is my HP laptop.  It's small enough to set on my dining table so I can enjoy the view of trees and grass behind my apartment, or to tote along to the coffee shop or library if I want to work there.  Along with my SanDisk 32GB Cruzer, which backs up and stores my photos and documents, my ProBook has plenty of power and memory for my work.

South Butte, March
8.  What entertains me

Books and hard crossword puzzles.  The library is a treasure trove!  Crossword puzzles that challenge me are hard to find.  I usually buy books of New York Times Friday and/or Saturday puzzles, but the most challenging (and fun) right now are the Hard as a Rock series edited by Stanley Newman.

9.  What inspires me

Nature.  Especially the Northern California coast, redwood forests, the Sierra foothills, and the Sutter Buttes.  I also enjoy a nice park or a well-tended garden.  They're perfect for a walk, a talk, a picnic, or just to sit and watch.

10.  What I'd grab in a fire

Scrapbooks.  If I had to flee, I'd already be wearing my wedding ring.  And I'd never leave my house without my purse/wallet, my phone, and my SanDisk Cruzer (see #7).  I'd need those things for ID, money, to be in touch with loved ones, and for digital files of my books and other writings, business documents, plus photos from the last decade or so.

But I'd miss my three scrapbooks containing older photos and letters if I didn't make the effort to grab them as well.

An interesting discovery

If I have the 10 items above, I'm pretty well set.  Yes, I need tops to wear with my jeans, plus underclothes and nightclothes.  I need other foods for nourishment, but not a lot more, and not much equipment to prepare them.  Interestingly, several of my essentials are not things you can own, and I don't need to do much shopping to provide for the others.

We get so caught up in what we need to buy and do to make our lives complete, but is that really true?  Give it some thought and see what you decide.

Many people are tired of the stress and frustration clutter brings, and want salvation from the frazzled lives they've been leading.  They want focus and peace, but don't know what that would look like or where to begin.

My completely revised 3rd edition of Uncluttered: How Minimalism Can Help You Thrive is available now on Amazon.  It's a comprehensive handbook for a simpler life – not a one-size-fits-all approach, but a creative, encouraging, multi-faceted guide to help you remove the stuff that's bogging you down, find time and space for what you care about, and uncover a more spacious home that supports your best life.


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