I’ve been away awhile with a sick family member… all ok now.
I’ve had a chance to get out and work on my capsule wardrobe. I’m continuing to throw clothes out as I replace them with higher quality. I have 3 pairs of work pants: Black, blue, dune. A white blouse and a black blouse. A mixture of solid color tops to wear under them which I am still working on upgrading. 3 pairs of shoes. 3 black skirts. This is not counting a mixture of sport cloths for walking, kayaking, working outside and 3 pairs of shoes and 2 pairs of boots. Underwear and sleepwear. It’s getting down there to the basics!
I discovered Periscope. I love the interaction I have with people out there! I really want to do some scopes and just talk about my life and how minimalism is helping me and in turn help others. I also want to share nature walks. I’m not sure how it will all fit in with my blog. I may have to change my blog to match my user name so I can embed all together. Well, I think that will all be a part of simplifying my social media and that will be another step in this whole process.
I also got my Soundcloud page going again and I’ve put on a few of my practice guitar sessions. I seem to be getting a lot less shy with getting my profiles out there. I used to be very secretive, but I just don’t care anymore who sees my stuff…. Moving on to less worry…
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately doing some searches on Stitcher with the term minimalism. I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Many of the minimalist gurus are closely tied to terms that keep cropping up: Productivity, Strategic Planning, Goals for Business, path to your fortune and money-making are a few. There seems to be a focus on following the minimalist path so that in the end you can make money with your passion. That is not my intent. Never was. I trust many of the podcasters out there, especially the Minimalists, Joshua Becker, and Marie Kondo and some others. But a few others are coming across as charlatans touting snake oil remedies. Another trend is the foodies, recyclers, upcyclers, and off-grid communities jumping on the bandwagon. I don’t want this to sound critical, because none of these things are “bad”. Minimalism has a very broad definition and can mean something different to each person
We are all drawn to a minimalistic lifestyle for different reasons. We just have to be careful not to follow a path which will lead us where we don’t want to go.
For my own life..
I don’t want to spend money on books about “how to live like a minimalist”. I can pick up an idea or two by reading other people’s ideas, but the best instructor is my spirit which is calling to me everyday to continue on the path to a peaceful, happy life.
Having grown up in a near-hoarder lifestyle, I have discovered the freedom of Space. I don’t want to simplify my life so I can fill it up again with projects and stuff. I have tried to adopt a simple rule on most buying. Buy one thing, eliminate two. (Buy a blouse, get rid of two.) If I follow this rule, eventually I should eliminate things and be at a level of space I want to be.
I don’t want to simplify my life so I can… EXAMPLE: Meet friends for lunch more often. Deep down inside meeting friends for lunch is what I want to ELIMINATE!
On off-grid life… I have a solar/wind home. Off-grid life is HARD. It can be complicated, frustrating, and far from simple. (Try taking down a 60 ft tower to replace a broken blade on a wind turbine in 20 degrees and you will know.) The simple part is, I don’t have a utility bill.
So I think each person has to evaluate how they want to develop as a minimalist and the choices of intentional living will come naturally in that development.
For myself, maybe eliminating the many voices being raised in the minimalist culture is my next step…
I walked into a room today and for the first time since we moved in, I heard my voice echo off the walls. What a beautiful sound! It was a sound of simplicity! I am down to one table and one chair and an old trunk in that room. The trunk will go soon as I get the contents sorted and disposed.
Out of the house today… an unused end table. It matched a coffee table, so I always felt l couldn’t break up the set. But it was a junk collector… a thing easy to pile something on and really served no purpose. So in my new minimalist life, I split the set and off it went to donations.
Also gone… a large counter-top oven. What a pile of wasted space! We rarely used it. It was slow to heat up and hard to guess on time for cooking. I love all the space on the counter!
My goal is to have just a bit of echo in each room…
Recently I cleared out the closet and got rid of many, many clothes. I have just enough, but in all honesty, I am not happy with a lot of what I kept. I love my Anne Klein black pants which I have had for over 5 years and they still look new. (Really!) So it was totally worth buying good pants that have lasted over the years. But the problem with a lot of what I kept, is that it is really not very quality except for some sweaters.
Long story short…. I did a scary thing yesterday and shopped for a blouse. It was scary because I felt like, oh no, here I go, shopping again!! But I did this risky thing with determination to buy a quality, somewhat expensive blouse, so I could eliminate a couple of the lower quality tops in my closet.
It took two buying trips. First, I bought the wrong size and had to return the item, but I think I now have a nice, quality, basic black blouse that fits well and can be worn with many pants and mixed with some of my own handmade jewelry.
Live with determination!
You’ve probably seen those posts about things to do with your old coffee filters that went out with the demise of your drip coffee machine. People said to use them for polishing, cleaning and I can’t remember what else. So I had a pile that I saved thinking I would use them. There they were, still sitting in the cupboard after 4 years. So today, off they went to the trash! Ah, that felt good…
My boss came up with an absolutely brilliant idea yesterday for the kitchen at the office. We have several people who are untidy (out of an 8-person office). They use a plate, put it in the sink when finished… use a plate, put it in the sink, use a plate, put it in the sink. Before long we have a pile of dirty dishes no one wants to clean! Very thoughtless for the rest of us!
So here is his plan… We will each be assigned a shelf. After removing EVERYTHING from the shelves, we will all pull what we claim as ours and put it on our shelf. After a week, all unclaimed items will go to a donation pile. My shelf is pictured above. Along with these items, I keep a bag of coffee, tea bags, and a coffee mug in the drawer in my office. Pretty nifty, huh? I thought it was a brilliant idea!
One of today’s finds was a large tub of Tang with a date of 2010. But the real work today was finding all the pieces to my grandmother’s china. I sorted out a 6-place setting which I will give to a family who has traditions of gatherings at the table. I saved out some settings which my family will use. But all the extras (and there are many) will go away. I found tea settings, teapot, serving bowls, fruit plates, platters, creamer and sugar, lots of extras that I never use. It’s a beautiful set with gold trim and all in great shape.
I am sure my grandmother bought this shortly after WWII, after her family moved from Detroit to a city on the west coast. She grew up in poverty, then through the Depression. My grandfather, a mechanic, lost his fingers in a work accident and probably could not work in the booming auto industry. After their son returned from the war, the entire family moved west and the kids all worked to support their parents. The china to me symbolized the new life they must have experienced after the war… better days, affluence, a nice home, cars and then the grandkids that came with the baby boom….including me.
I spent many weekends with my grandma, and she allowed me to have tea with her every afternoon as a tradition. We used her tea settings and china on her lace tablecloth with the crystal chandelier above our heads.
There is not one person from that large family alive today. The china is a striking reminder that time moves on and there is an impermanence in possessions.