I have been blessed with a large piece of property (70 acres). Today when I was riding through the land, I was thinking about my animals, 2 dogs and a cat, who had passed on. They are buried under one of my large trees together. I loved them so. Then something struck me. I have many, many things… objects that I love and can’t seem to part with. They hold memories for me alone. Anyone else would view it as junk: the doorbell from the house I was born in (they tore the house down and I saved the bell), the broken face of a ceramic piggy bank given to me by my aunt, ticketstubs from my first concert and date, and many, many other useless things that hold a memory. Surely these things would end up in a landfill in a most undignified manner when I am gone, if I don’t plan for them in some way. So here is my brilliant plan.
I will have a funeral for it all. I will get a nice box, some nice fabric, and place it inside. Then I will pick and choose my things that to other people would be junk, but have a special memory for me. These are things I never use, never look at, but when I see it I just can’t throw away. When I have collected all my memories in their little coffin, I will bury it, just as I have buried my little animals. I think if someone finds it all in 200 years, it will be quite an interesting find! But for me, I will still “have” it, but it will be buried in a place of dignity with love.
I think I can do this. In fact, I know I can. When I think of the alternative of letting this stuff be shoveled out and going to a dump, yes I know I can.
An eternal resting place created with love…
I’m making progress. I have thrown things away for a year now and months later realize I have not missed anything. I don’t even think about my stuff anymore. I think about the space I have and how free it feels.
My plan for keeping my level of stuff to a manageable level is to throw out one or more items for every new item I add. This week I donated 6 pairs of shoes and replaced them with 2 good pairs.
Tomorrow I’m going to tackle the console in my car. Scary things in there.
- I don’t go to movies. Most of the side comments, jokes, cliques, and quirky things people say are lines from movies. I don’t know what they are talking about.
- I don’t like sports.
- I don’t like restaurants. I avoid restaurants like the plague. The food is 10 times the price it should be and I like my cooking.
- I don’t drink. Thankful those days are over.
- I find most people today pretty boring. I’d rather talk to their pets.
- I hate shopping and stores.
- I don’t watch much TV.
- I don’t play any sort of computer games
- I don’t like Facebook.
- I don’t call my husband “hubby”.
OK, those are some negatives that just crossed my mind. Maybe tomorrow I will post some positives to show I am really not as boring as I sound.
This is huge….. My husband (who has not embraced the minimalist life) went though one of HIS cupboards this morning and eliminated half of it. Learning by example? Maybe… I tried not to over do my elation and held my breath that any response would break the spell. But dance on! Happy, happy dance within me!
If you’ve heard about “minimalism” or life as a “minimalist”, you may be thinking, oh great, another “fad” or it’s a bunch of anti-capitalism weirdos, or a disorder opposite of being a hoarder. OK, now listen up… STOP IT. JUST STOP. Ok, yes, people are discovering it and they gave it a name, MINIMALISM…that I guess makes it a fad. Now…GET OVER IT.
Do this: Where you are right now, look out in front of you. Now look to both sides. How many things to you see you have not used in 6 months? Now think about what is in the drawers you see. Visualize what is in them. How many things can you think of that you know are packed away, but you haven’t used in over a year? Continue on to your closets…. Now how do you feel about possibly minimizing your stuff?
I admit I am hardly there. I have many things I struggle with letting go: old dog collars, dog bowls, dog coats from dogs passed on, my aunt’s persian lamb coat, my grandmother’s china we used at Thanksgiving (even though I only use 2-place settings out of a 12-place setting set), old laptops and phones (I’m afraid they will contain personal data), gifts people gave me that were handmade and many others. But I have made a huge dent in the chaos. I have free open space. Free space, free mind. What I can’t give up is in the process of finding an out-of-sight place packed away.
Along with my stuff, I have my housework on a schedule. Each task is on card, organized by color (weekly, monthly, twice a year, and yearly) and everyday I pull from the pile and complete some tasks. The house maintains it’s cleanliness, space, and sanity! Nothing OC here…. just methodical and organized.
Today at work I was listening to the TED talk given by Jennifer L. Scott on “the 10-item wardrobe”. The TED channel has many inspiring talks on minimalism, but this one really hit home. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of clothes over the years, but my mindset has always been: get rid of clothes, so I can buy MORE clothes.
So thanks to Ms Scott’s inspiring talk, I went home and did a massive clearing and I do not plan to replace them at this time.
I put clothes I knew for sure I wouldn’t wear, that don’t fit, that “feel wrong”, into the donation pile. The clothes that I really thought I “might want” and couldn’t part with, I folded up, stored in another closet… out of sight. If I don’t find a need for them in one year, they will be donated too. The “maybe want” pile was mostly nice sweaters that I don’t wear much, but are quality and look nice.
Everything else is stuff I actually wear. I ended up with about 8 tops and 1 nice blouse, 6 pairs of pants, 3 black skirts, a few jackets, a winter coat, 5 pairs of shoes, 3 boots, underwear, night clothes, bathrobe and socks.
It may be more than 10 items, but it is a massive reduction in what I had and I think in a year, I will have 90% of the other pile gone too!
About a month ago, I came to the realization that Facebook was nothing but a bunch of brain clutter. And they wanted me to be the audience. So I unfollowed everyone. I did not defriend anyone, but I unfollowed them so that their posts do not appear in my newsfeed. I wasn’t sure how it would work out. But I am happy to say it’s working beautifully! If you really want to keep your friends that you had from grade school, don’t defriend them. But if you have discovered, as I had, that you really have nothing in common with them, just unfollow them.
If I am really curious about their lives, I can still go see their pages and see their silly posts and their grandkids pictures, and all the nonsense and maybe, there will be something there about how they are living their lives (but I really doubt it). I no longer have that nagging desire to check my newsfeed constantly, and Comment, Like, and all the other habits I had before. I love it! I have more time to myself, more time for creativity, more time to be outdoors, more time to really be talking to people face-to-face.
So if you have heard about deactivating your Facebook account and are wondering if this is the route you should take, you may consider just unfollowing everyone. EVERYONE. You will still have your contacts if you want them, but you won’t have this constant obsession with your newsfeed.
What a great way to start the new year!