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.
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…
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.