Monthly Archives: March 2013

Done….For Now.

Once again, I’ve reached the end of a simplifying cycle.

In less than 2 weeks, my mother and I will be holding, yet another, garage sale.

This time, what we do not sell will most likely be immediately donated.  (In the past, I’ve kept these left-over items for a future garage sale, but am now at a point in my life where I just want to be rid of it.)

I would donate everything immediately–and part of me thinks this would be more rewarding–but am sort of in need of a little extra cash at the moment.  The only items that will not be donated are ones that can be sold online for a respectable amount, such as antiques and collectibles.

Right now, my parents’ dining room is completely over-run with our junk.  I couldn’t believe the amount of stuff we were able to let go of….AGAIN!  After all, this is not our first rodeo.  It seriously looks like an episode of Hoarders!

As I’ve gone through almost everything I have–except for a couple of large stacks of records I’ll attack this week (the vinyl kind, not the paperwork kind)–I really feel satisfied.  Like I’ve finally arrived.

However, based on my previous experience, I know that this feeling is only temporary.  This is just the finish line for this particular layer of the process.  In a very short matter of time, I will find more that I know I can, and will want to, do without.

I love that about this lifestyle.  I feel like I’m constantly growing and changing, learning new things about myself every single day.  It’s an ongoing journey to be content with less and to really learn the meaning of enough.

But….I think I’m getting a little bit closer.

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Goals are Good.

With my journey well underway, I’ve decided that I need a list of goals to strive for.

I’m working on minimalizing my life so that I will be able to pick up and go with little to no hassle, whenever the time calls for it.

I know that there will be some possessions that I will own that will be a pain to haul around, so I’m taking a little advice from Miss Minimalist.  When she and her family decide to up and move, they simply leave their big pieces behind by selling or donating them, and re-buying them at their next location.  This may seem silly to some–selling what you already have, just to replace it ASAP–but to me it makes total sense.  Imagine the money you save on moving costs!  No need to rent a moving truck if you’re a minimalist. 🙂

That being said, these are my goals:

1. Have only one plastic container for keepsakes–and not a huge one.

2. Be able to fit all my clothing and shoes into one duffel bag.  (Yes, this includes winter and summer wardrobes.)

3. Have one backpack of entertainment or extra items.  (This would include a laptop, iPod, chargers, journal, etc.  Basically, anything I wouldn’t want to have to replace in case of emergency.)

4. Have an attachment-free home.  (I want to have zero emotional attachment to my furniture and decor.  I don’t want to be scrambling around the house trying to “collect” all my keepsakes in the event of a natural disaster, tribulation-flee, or the zombie apocalypse. <wink>)

These are four basic goals I have for now.  As you can see, these only pertain to my possessions.  I will have another list of mental goals in the future, but I’m finding it difficult to reduce my mental clutter while my visual/physical clutter still requires so much of my attention.

Also, this list is subject to change as I make progress.  I’m not opposed to the idea that what I think is best for me now, may not turn out to be what’s best in the end.

Gotta start somewhere, right?

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Old bedding from Grandma’s house.  Truly vintage.

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Collecting Clutter

Have you ever collected anything?

I’ve seen my family members and friends do it (even though I know and am glad my mom’s “snowman collection” was more talk than anything else), and I know I’ve been guilty of it.  I’ve collected lots of things, actually.

Let’s see….there was the beanie baby phase, Backstreet Boys posters, the movie ticket stubs and Chinese fortunes, rocks from various places I visited, magazines, movie posters, key chains that were way too cumbersome to ever actually carry around, purses, silly graphic t-shirts, tour t-shirts from my favorite bands, clothes in general from my employment period with American Eagle….

There were even things that no one should ever need more than one of–like hairbrushes and bed comforters.

Just thinking back on all the things I used to own makes me nervous, but also excited over how far I’ve come.  It motivates me to keep pushing forward to get to that place that feels right for me.

It’s funny, because, even though the things I have left in my life seem necessary now, I know that they’re really not.  I can’t wait to see how far I take this thing.

I can’t wait to finally travel light!

Even now, I can’t say that I don’t have any collections in my life.

There’s still a few of those Dave Matthews Band tour t-shirts that keep hanging around, along with a ridiculously large collection of TOMS shoes and an obscene music collection–this includes several large stacks of vinyl that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to part with.

At least the few things I collect now are things with use or meaning: I still wear my band shirts and TOMS shoes (which I also support because I believe in their cause), and music is a huge part of my life.  I prefer the sound of vinyl recordings to mp3s and almost always choose to buy the actual CD over the digital download.  Is this something that will change?  Maybe.  Just not quite yet.

I wrote this to convince you that any collection is probably a bad idea, but I realize, now, that there are a few exceptions to that rule.

Ultimately, though, we should strive to collect knowledge and awareness more than any material possessions.

This is something I can definitely say I do.  I learn something new or am made aware of new things almost daily.  I love to seek out information on the topics and ideas that move me and love sharing them with others.

I encourage you all to do the same.

So, stop collecting and start collecting….the right things.

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It is vain to do with more what can be done with fewer.

–William Occam


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Less Clothes–More Space!

I finally did it.

I tackled my clothes.  Well, not literally….but, you know….

I had been putting it off for so long and cannot even begin to count the number of times I stood in front of my open closet or pulled-out chest-of-drawers to attempt to conquer it…only to give up too quickly, feeling as if I couldn’t part with any of the items.

I started out trying to wear the pieces that I usually don’t wear, to see if I liked myself in them for extended periods of time.  Usually, at the end of the day, I would realize that I hadn’t been wearing said pieces for a reason: too itchy, rides up, too small, too big, not a great color on me, etc.

I guess this gave me the confidence this weekend to tell myself, no more, and do the deed.

I know there’s more I can eliminate….eventually.  But for now, I’m extremely pleased with the huge chunk of clothes (enough to fill a large trash bag) that are no longer taking up space in my tiny closet.

<Deep sigh of relief>

Feels good. 🙂

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Minimalism is not defined by what is not there, but by the rightness of what is and the richness with which this is experienced.

–John Pawson


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