Sunday, March 18, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 18 + Too Many Keepsakes

This eighteenth day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game was incredibly hard - and I know it's only going to get more difficult during the last 12 days of the game. Because I've almost run out of easy things to purge - or have to wait until closer to my moving day to purge them - so I'm forcing myself to make those tough decisions.

Day 18

I got rid of a number of really difficult sentimental items today, but have chosen only to share pics of the items that weren't so personal. For today I got rid of: 1 and 2) Two microfiber scrubbing cloths (recycle); 3-5) Three bendy cable ties (give away); 6) A small saw (give away); 7-9) Three cloth bags that came with linen purchases (give away); 10-16) Six cat food dishes and a container (not shown); 17) A cat placemant/food mat (not shown); 18) A kindle cover (not shown).

The two microfiber scrubbing cloths were easy to purge as they didn't work nearly as well as I'd hoped they would when I bought them, so out they go. The three cable twists were part of a set of four I purchased just for the white one which I used to bind the pull for our window covering so that it wouldn't be a hazard to my cat. The small saw was something I purchased to cut down some small boards to enclose an area that the kittens got into beneath our cupboards. I won't need this tool anytime soon so wanted to give it to someone who might use it.

The three cloth bags are ones that came with my bed linens that I thought were so pretty and that I'd use for something someday. I never did. But I finally took off the sewn-in labels and am giving them to a family member who definitely can use them to store things. (They are also serve as nice packaging for some of the items I'm giving to that family member.)

The sentimental items that I am not showing are: Six food dishes that belonged to my two cats who have since passed away - three for one who passed in 2013, and three belonging to the other who passed last year. I've kept a favorite bowl for each, but finally let go of these six. I purchased a small keepsake container in 2013 for my cat's keepsakes but never used it and found two identical keepsake boxes for their things which I've used instead. I let go of an older food mat that was previously used by my cat before we got her a new one that was easier for her to stand on when she got older. I let go of my Kindle cover that she used to love to knock over, rub against, chew on.

So that's 18, I think.

For tomorrow I plan to go into some of my keepsake decorative storage boxes and see if there's anything else I might be ready to let go of. While I have a few more non-sentimental items around the house, there are certainly not 294 of them.

Too many keepsakes...

When I was much younger I used to hang onto little knickknacks and all sorts of things that I thought were cute or were attached to a memory. But many of those things were discarded by my mother when I moved away. And while my father stored many boxes of my things when I went away to college, quite a few were accidentally destroyed in a flooded basement.

So I think I clung extra hard to the things I did have. The lack of control over my things and over my life in those early days and the inability to say goodbye to them on my terms made me hold on that much harder.

But when my things started to become a huge burden - especially those keepsake items that didn't have a proper place, didn't store easily, weren't useful - I knew I had to get rid of them. And yet, for the most part I couldn't.

Because I'd hung onto things for such a long time I couldn't imagine letting go of them. If I let them go it was like I'd wasted all that time. Or if I kept them for so long they must be valuable to me.

Over the years I sought out different storage solutions and came up with some pretty good ones for many of my items. But there were always those ones that were oddly sized or shaped that didn't have the "perfect place." So I'd find new solutions. And so on and so on.

And I did purge some of those things, slooooowly. But ended up with three file totes of scrapbooks and photo albums, and eight decorative letter boxes and card boxes which contained other scrapbooks, notebooks, and other miscellany.

While it isn't all that much for a lifetime of living, it is quite a bit when I'm someone who moves every couple of years and who lives in apartments where pests are always a risk, so everything needs to be secured and sealed "just in case."

And as much effort and love I put into storing things in such a pretty way (and digitizing most of those things), the physical and emotional weight of them, year after year, move after move, takes its toll. And my love for these memories does get tarnished by the weight of having too many keepsakes of those memories.

So I'm hopeful that I will have the courage, once and for all, to just let go of some (if not many or most) of these things.

To be continued...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 17

For the 17th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game I took a hard look at certain areas of my home and asked myself (and my husband) the questions that demanded honest answers - When did you last use this? When do you think you're going to use it? How much do you love it?

And I also took a look at some of the things I thought I was going to add to my keepsake pile, though most of that I'm saving for a future purge.

For today...

Day 17

Today's purges include: 1 and 2) Small olivewood cutting board and spoon (give away); 3 and 4) Plastic measuring tape (give away), empty "old fashioned" milk bottle (recycle); 5 and 6) Plastic bin and foul weather gear (give away, recycle); 7) Torn pillowcase (recycle); 8-11) Cable clip, furminator, two pieces of swag (recycle, give away); 12-17) 6 destroyed cat toys (beak not counted as an extra) (discard).

We have a large cutting board that my husband never used because he said it wasn't accessible so we purchased this small one to keep on the counters for easy access. He never used it and I continued to dust it. So I'm giving it away to a family member along with the "matching" spoon. As I just received a beautifully handmade in the U.S. spoon, I don't need this - one's enough.

I received this measuring tape for free when I purchased my scale. I never used it so out it goes. I'd planned on hanging on to this milk bottle and finding a way to scrape off the lettering so I could use it as a vase. That didn't happen, so it's off to be recycled.

These foulies are too big and I never wear them - I wear my black pants instead as they're so much lighter to carry. The bin (this is just a representative bin) was an unexpected purge when we went to the eCycling center with many, many cables and wires and they took it and asked if we wanted to get rid of the bin that was holding them. I said yes.

This pillowcase I've had around for decades. It is one of two pillowcases that were the very first linens I purchased from Shabby Chic. But it came apart at the seams, literally, and started to tear down the middle, and so it hasn't been used since 2013. I'm finally saying goodbye.

The cable clip is the one missing from the full set of new clips I sent to family. This had come loose from where it was clipped and is covered in tooth marks. So out it goes. The furminator is the wrong size it seems and made the felines very uncomfortable so I'm giving it away. The two items of bookish swag are going to a family member, as I don't tend to keep swag unless it's a tote, or something I'm going to use.

The cat toys are ones I was planning on putting in a keepsake box for our felines. They played hard with these toys, loved them a bit too much, but destroyed them even under supervision. As it's starting to feel a bit too morbid to think about items to keep for when they're gone, I'm getting rid of them. The picture will provide enough of a memory should I wonder what the cats were like way back when they were kittens.

So that's it. And as this post is really long and I have to find those 18 items tomorrow I'm signing off.

To be continued...

Friday, March 16, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 16 + Sets of 6

It's now the 16th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and I'm excited to find that still I have more things to purge. Though it actually would be nicer if I had nothing left to purge, which would mean that I have reached that stage of minimalism that I want to be at.

So maybe being done with this challenge early won't be such a bad thing. And I'm going to have to try really hard not to get rid of things I do use just to meet a particular day's goals. (Yes, I've started looking hard at some utensils I sort of use and kind of like...)

But for today...

Day 16

Today I gave away: 1 and 2) Digital camera (eCycled) + camera case and strap; 3) Magazine (recycled); 4) Fringed throw (gave away); 5 and 6) Ladle and whisk; 7) Digital watch (eCycled); 8 and 9) lanyard and carabiner clip (discarded); 10-13) 4 cork coasters (gave away); 14 and 15) 2 plastic hangers (recycled); 16) Knit cap (gave away).

My husband had been storing my camera and case (I thought I had purged it a couple years ago). But when we went through his bins to get rid of some of his excess wires, a camcorder, and other electronics (including an old Apple mouse of mine that I gave him), this appeared. And while I would have tried to sell it, he must have discarded the battery charger and so we opted to eCycle it instead.

The magazine was quickly read (steering clear of 75% due to the ads) and so was sent packing. The throw has fringe that's too tempting and dangerous for the felines, so it's being given to a family member. The ladle was too cumbersome to use, and the whisk was never used to make those fluffy omelettes and so both are being given to a family member.

The watch was rendered useless when a family member purchased another one that served that exact purpose two-and-a-half years ago. I kept thinking I might need it some day, but hadn't. But because it's scratched it went to eCycling. The lanyard and clip went to (or go to) some kind of sailing-related item but I have no idea what they go to and I've never used them in the four+ years I've had them so off they go.

The cork coasters were an attempt to get coasters that don't get sent to the floor and make the most horrible noises when the cats go a little crazy. But they are chewers (as can be witnessed by some of the items I plan to get rid of for tomorrow's purge), and apparently cork is quite dangerous if ingested by cats, so they're being passed along to a family member.

The cap was used and loved but has begun to shrink with all the washes and so it's going to a family member. (And I have another hat that was given to me that works wonderfully.) The hangers are part of the previously purged set, but were discovered beneath two clothing items of my husband's.

So that's 16.

What is it about sets of 6?

Many of the things I love come only in a set of six. I wish I could ask the merchant just to send me four, or three, or however many I need, even if I have to pay for six.

At least if things were sold in sets of eight I could sell the other four, or give away a nice set of four items to a friend. But a lonely pair of things typically only works well when your friends are minimalists or don't mind having mismatched items.

So I have these amazing glasses to drink from, but I have six of them - two of which I will likely never use. I want to purchase just one of the round welk jars, and while they sell them single on sites like World Market or Target, they don't sell them singly on Amazon where I would get free shipping and it would make it financially feasible to do so. (I only need just the one.)

The fewest eggs they sell in the market come in a container of six (we really don't eat more than four before expiry dates).

So, what is it about the set of six that seems to appeal to both merchant and consumer? Do people really want that many things or is it just that they've been conditioned to want that many things?

I have a "set of 6" flatware, of which I use almost every single piece before they get washed. But I had a "set of 6" dishware, most of which went unused.

I'm not sure why I felt the need to have six. Or why I felt the need to have them match. But at some point in my life I was conditioned to the "set of 6" idea, even if it was one that never once suited my life.

To be continued...

Thursday, March 15, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 15 + The Things I Use Sometimes

For Day 15 of the 30-Day Minimalism Game I caught a break, as I have the perfect number of something very easy to purge.

And I'm just so thrilled I managed to make it halfway through the month-long challenge without failing...though I can't say the same will be true for the latter half, as I'm scrambling to find the 16 items for tomorrow's challenge. (I am sure I have 16 items, I'll just have to either locate them or be prepared to part with them by tomorrow.)

As of today I'll have purged 120 things. Which feels like a lot, although I don't really notice much of a change in my home - as most of these things were items in not-crowded cupboards and closets, so they (mostly) flew under the radar. However, in anticipation of my move, I am relieved that I'll have that many fewer things to have to clean, pack, and unpack.

Day 15

Today was an easy day and I am giving away 15 plastic hangers. We've had these for years and years - over a decade - and they've served us well, but we needed something a bit less bulky for our closet space and so I've upgraded to stainless steel and aluminum hangers which will hopefully last our lifetime.

These also feel a bit juvenile and a bit too whimsical and it was time to make a change. (And, yes, *spoiler alert* there will be more hangers swapped at a later date during the challenge, because I have that many hangers.)

From now on, except for that anticipated additional hanger purge day, I have a feeling there will be a lot more of a hodgepodge of things being discarded. Because I just don't have that much of an one thing in my home...or even things that are related/similar. But we shall see...

The things I use sometimes...

Over the many, many years I've been attempting to cull my possessions so that I only have those things that I use or love, love, love, I've always hated those items that I use just sometimes.

These are things that take up space, that do have a use, that I have to keep but wish I didn't, as they take up most of storage space in my closet, most of the space in cupboards and drawers.

The sometimes things:

While there are many, many things that serve as sometimes things in my home, I'm only going to list the ones that irk me the most. Because they take up space, because I have to "worry" about their well-being, because I have to drag them from place to place because they are necessary, just not always necessary.

Extras and spares. Because we can't live without a backup fitted sheet, pillow cases, dish towels, USB cables, lightning cables, hard drives, pens, sunglasses, sailing gloves, sailing shoes, tote bags, office supplies, dishes and glasses and flatware, chairs.

Specific use items. Overnight sailing gear/equipment (head lamp, flashlight, sleeping bag, camp pad, etc.), foul weather gear (harness, boots, rain jacket and pants, etc.), safety gear (PFDs, gloves, etc.), emergency provisions (hand crank radio, batteries, etc.), kitchen supplies (serving bowl, wooden spoon, large pots, etc.), suitcase, mops, dusters, side tables, reference books, important papers (tax documents/returns, etc.).

If I didn't have to keep these sometimes things, my home would feel a lot emptier, simpler, lighter. But most of these items are ones that I can't simply buy instantly if needed, and the rest are ones that we are required to keep, or that are necessary for our family and for our lifestyle/interests.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 14 + the trouble with storage containers

It's now the 14th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and I'm really reaching for things to purge. Fortunately I found some things hidden beneath the kitchen sink or I might not have made the count today.

Day 14

For today I got rid of: 1) A small 4x6 guillotine (give away); 2) A pair of kitchen gloves (give away); 3) A wooden spoon (give away); 4 and 5) Two kitchen scrubbers (give away); 6) A spatula (discard/recycle); 7 and 8) Two scrubby sponges (discard/recycle); 9-14) Six pop-up sponges (give away).

This is not my first guillotine. I bought one years ago to crop photos, but when everything was cropped and done and all else was digital I didn't need it so I gave it away. Then more recently I thought it would be perfect to use to crop the add-on pages for my sailing log. But I kept it in a drawer, I'd forget I had it, and would just cut them with a scissor - as I had always done. It may not be as nice looking or as consistently sized, but I use a scissor for many things, and this just took up a lot of space.

The gloves were a bit too small when I got them, but I put them under the sink and forgot them for the past two years, just like all the remaining kitchen cleaning items.

The spoon is one that was a gift, was well used and loved, but I have a second spoon that's just the same size and don't need two, so am giving this one away to someone else who needs another. The spatula is also well used and loved (mostly), but the curved end made it difficult to flip eggs and it was getting a bit manky, so I'd purchased a new one a few years ago, and have not used this one since. As it is a bit too chewed and perma-stained it is being discarded/recycled.

The trouble with storage containers...

Is that they store your stuff so well that you forget you have it.

While most of the storage containers I own are either clear and in plain view - used to store linens, keepsake items, important papers - or are in a bit fancier boxes with labels, I did have a couple of containers beneath the kitchen sink that I forgot all about.

They are grey, and stacked, and were used mostly to keep our trash bags and ziploc baggies at a higher-than-ground level for ease of access. And while I knew I had some stuff contained therein, I thought it was just a few swiffer sweeper wet cloths that came free with the duster. I forgot all about the fact that when I first moved in I bought pretty gloves, and scrubbies, and sponges - none of which I use to do dishes or clean the sink.

Storage containers are great for storing things out of the way that you have to store, to keep them pest- or air- or water-damage-free. But for products that should be used frequently, the storage container system isn't ideal. Even if you have limited space to house these items.

Because for many people, out of sight is often out of mind. And while the possessions I own that possess my thoughts in a burden-y kind of way are never out of mind even if out of sight, there are clearly some items that take up space in my home that are forgettable and should never be put in "hidden" containers, stacked out of the way.

As I strive for minimal this month, I am hoping to reduce the number of containers I own. And while I will always have a few things that need to be kept boxed up for safekeeping, I am hopeful those containers will be filled with items that are either cherished or important.

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 13

Welcome to my 13th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game.

I am almost half of the way through - though not nearly halfway done given the quantity of items in the second half of this 30-day game. But I'm still feeling hopeful.

I did, however, do what I think of as "cheating" for today's purge.

Day 13

Today I got rid of: 1 and 2) Rubbermaid food containers (recycle); 3) Threadbare not-able-to-salvage pillowcase (discard/recycle); 4 and 5) Two hangers; 6-13) Cable clips (give away).

The two containers were old and smelled of food and dish detergent. The pillowcase is a favorite but trying to sew the rips and tears caused the fabric to rip and tear. The two hangers were getting a bit too flimsy to hold the two PFDs they held, so I've moved them to aluminum hangers and am letting these two go. And the cable clips were purchased two years ago for my husband's desk cables. One was used but didn't stick to the desk and the cable kept falling to the floor. The rest of these have been sitting in a drawer, and are now being given away to a family member who might have a desk that these will actually adhere to.

Why do I feel like I cheated? Because those eight cable clips should have counted as just one item since they were on one sheet. I thought about taking them out of the packaging so that it would look more like eight separate items and make me feel justified at calling them eight, but oh well... at least I didn't pull the lids off the containers so I could call those four instead of two.

To be continued...

Monday, March 12, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 12 + it's not money lost...

Things are getting really difficult 12 days into the 30-Day Minimalism Game. Though I am glad I'm attempting to "play." Because while I think of things to purge, I'm also being more thoughtful about what things I'm purchasing in anticipation of our move - I think for the first time ever.

While there might be many things that would be great to have, I don't want to be thinking about purging them in a year's time should we consider moving again. I don't want to have enough purge-able things to merit playing this game ever again. So while this super cute rolling narrow shelf would coordinate perfectly with my desk, and would come in handy to place my work things on, I'm going to wait a bit, not fill that empty space I will have before I even have it. If, in six months time, when it goes on sale again I still have need of it I might buy it. But until then I'll relish the empty spaces.

For today, though...

Day 12

I have: 1) a Coach sunglasses case (give away); 2) A broken pair of Coach sunglasses with a missing arm and scratched lens (discard); 3) A marine-grade knife sharpener (give away); 4) A sailor's knife (give away); 5 and 6) Two books I've read (give away); 7) An accidental one-click purchase I was remiss in returning of Season 3 of Angel (give away); 8 and 9) Old earrings for my tragus and daith piercings (discard/recycle); 10) Extra lights for the faux Christmas tree pre-wrapped with lights that I gave away a week prior to this game (discard/recycle); 11) A utility holder from Umbra that didn't work for what I'd hoped it would work for (discard/recycle); 12) A T-shirt with a marketing slogan that I won't wear (repurpose).

And so ends Day 12. If I hadn't opened that one container I might never have spotted those sailing items that had been unused for so long. I had to scour the bathroom cabinets to find a few items hiding in drawers and beneath the sink. I'd all but forgotten about those DVDs (I don't have a DVD player) and my intent to give them to a friend who likes the show and has a DVD player. And I hadn't wanted to purge those sunglasses that lived in the console in our shared car, as I kept hoping to get them fixed. I just never realized the arm went missing and were beyond repair.

It's not money lost...

When I first started purging my things, I would get so upset about the money lost - as I imagined everything had the same value as it had when I bought it. (I also imagined the items had somehow magically increased in value - most times that wasn't the case.)

But with each move I'd get so sick of having to pack these things up, I'd end up just leaving them behind near the trash bins. Paintings, furniture, musical instruments, dishware - all would be left for someone else to scour through. And while I'd ache for the money lost, my desire to be rid of these things outweighed the heartache over the money.

As time passed I'd recognize that I'd likely be purging things before a move, and so I'd try to make the time to donate what I could, sell what I could, give away what I could. It made me feel better that someone was enjoying my things and/or that I was getting compensated in some small way.

Now, though I think differently.

I think it's not money lost. It's money spent. Because I bought the item, I lived with the item, I either loved or hated the item, I either used or didn't use the item. And while I might not want that item any more, I did at one point. It served a purpose. It had a value.

Do I wish I had known then what I know now? Sure. Do I wish my tastes never changed? You bet. Do I wish I had all that money instead? Definitely.

But if I hadn't made those choices then I wouldn't be the person I am today. I might not have discovered more about myself. I might not have grown to appreciate minimalism or simplicity. I might not have wanted to be more environmentally conscious. I might not have appreciated the things I do have.

And for those who think of all this waste or excess that I, or others like myself, have gotten rid of, I say that there's nothing I can do to change the past. And I prefer to think of it from a positive POV: Think of all the waste I won't be creating now that I'm looking at things in a new light. Think of all the items I won't be consuming now that I'm striving for minimal. Think of all the money I will be saving by not wanting to fill up every empty space in my home.

I have a lot of years left on this planet, and by opting to start on the right-for-me path now, I'm giving the earth, my wallet, myself a break.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 11, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 11

It's Day 11 of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and I'm struggling...or rather avoiding the tough stuff...and instead am desperately searching for things that I absolutely won't need in the next 35 or so days until I move.

While there will be many things that get purged on moving day, those things will be needed right up until then. So for those last few days of the challenge, if I absolutely have nothing else that can be discarded and so that I don't end up counting trash as discards, I might just end up listing those big "dump" items that won't be moving with us but that I will need for a week or so beyond the game's end date. (Like area rugs, cat furniture and supplies, cleaning tools.)

But for today...

Day 11

I know the picture shows only 10 items (well, 11 if you count the chair, but that's not being discarded, it just serves as a place to hold the stuff being purged), but the 11th item is a spoon used exclusively for our kitten's food that they (unbeknownst to me) knocked into the kitchen sink and shoved beneath the cover to the garbage disposal which they closed up somehow. It caused quite the surprise when the disposal let out a loud metallic screech and I pulled out a mangled spoon. As it was super sharp and had metallic filings falling off it, I had to wrap it up and then dispose of it in the recycle bin right away, instead of sharing its mangled "corpse" here with the rest of the day's purges.

So for today I have six plastic hangers which I'll be giving away to someone in need, an old bathroom cleaning scrubber whose orange pad leaves bits of itself behind, and whose handle sheds rust (which will be recycled in part), two wood boards I purchased for a project but which turned out to be the wrong size (give away), and a foam roller from Amazon Basics which is way too firm for what we needed it for (give away).

So that makes 11. Yay. And while I have some ideas for Days 13, 14, and 15, I have not yet been able to figure out what to discard for Day 12. Because much of the stuff that actually should get discarded for this game is of the "memento" variety and I'm delaying those decisions for as long as humanly possible.

Off to scour... to be continued...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 10 + the pros and cons of moving

I'm now into the first of many double-digit days here on Day 10 of the 30-Day Minimalism Game. And while I'm still eyeing all those hangers for future days in the challenge, coming up with ten items for today's "game day" wasn't easy.

[And, yes, I did end up purging ahead on a few days of this challenge, like today, as I knew I wasn't going to be at home and able to play the game on certain days.]

Day 10

I feel like today's game day is a total cheat. Today I got rid of nine manky, barely functional microfiber cloths. And I also am getting rid of (via giving away to a family member) a small hole punch that I bought to use for Christmas 2016 and haven't used since.

My home doesn't feel less crowded by the removal of these items - though the microfiber cloth drawer, filled only with new/barely used cloths, is much more spacious. (And I do love space.) But I do know that with each item that leaves my home, there is one less decision I will have to make come moving day next month.

The pros and cons of moving...

We move often - well, often for me anyway. And with each move I'm made aware of each and every one of my possessions, which is both a pro and a con. If we were more "normal" movers, we'd hire movers to box up our things, move them, unpack them. But in the past we've done every single move on our own. Which is incredibly fatiguing. And while for the first time ever we are going to hire moving men to move our actual large-scale furniture, I will be thoroughly cleaning and packing up all our possessions and moving each of those items once again. Which has its pros and cons - a few of which follow below...

The pros.

  • Knowing what I own and taking only those things I can't bear to part with. By handling every single item I own (and the ones my husband owns), I am able to assess its value, see whether it's worth taking with us to that next place. Not a single item is transported that hasn't been looked at, touched, cleaned, packed up, or moved without a decision made by me. So I am able to pare down the things I've accumulated since the last move and reassess those things that I have owned since then that might no longer have meaning.
  • Getting a clean slate. By moving so often I have the chance to start over with a clean slate. My new space is empty, calming, minimal. It doesn't hold the negative energies that have accumulated in the previous space. I have the opportunity to start fresh, not let the space get filled with negative energy. The possibility exists for the simplicity I desire.
The cons.

  • Knowing what I own. While this is also a pro, it's very much a con. If we were to stay in one location, and I were to find a home for the things I own, I would not have to think about them. I could use them if they were items that were meant to be used. And I could store them if they were items that were meant to be stored. I would not have to spend my current energies thinking about the weight of my keepsakes. If we didn't move I wouldn't have to find unpack them, make sure they were still preserved, re-pack them, move them, and find new homes for them. If I didn't move I might not be so concerned with these items and I could either part with them more easily or be okay with them occupying space just as they are.
  • The physical toll. No matter whether you have movers or not, unless they're of the white glove variety and do every single thing for you, there is a physical toll in getting your home dismantled and put back together somewhere else. Even if you sold everything you owned you'd have to buy new and get those things put together and set up in the new space. (Unless you were so thoroughly minimalist that you didn't opt to have a traditional setup with bed, sofa, tables, chairs, et cetera.) So there is a physical component that comes with every move, and depending upon your age and capabilities, there is a price.
  • The emotional toll. Moving is stressful. On top of the fact that moving your home is a huge change - and change can be as stressful as it is exciting - there are many other factors that cause stress - worrying about the state of your possessions while in transit, worrying about all the "to dos" that need to be handled in order to detach from one space and attach to another, worrying about all that needs to be done in advance of the move and all that needs to be done following. If you have a partner, there's also dealing with someone else under stress, which often makes things even more stressful.
In sum.

While I love changing environments, doing so at this stage in my life is starting to wear thin. I have possessions that force me to deal with them in ways I wouldn't have to if I were to stay in one place. I'm of an age where I have things and need things in order to function that aren't as conducive to moving as the things I owned when I was younger - no "fast" furniture, not as many "disposable" goods. And I've accumulated more important papers and memorabilia than I had when I was younger - rather, I am responsible for my memorabilia now that I'm older, as my parents no longer hold onto any of that stuff for me.

All of this makes me long for a more nomadic existence (not possible) where I can live with just a handful of things that fit in a travel bag. But I love my husband and my felines and I have responsibilities that just won't allow for it. So maybe it's time to think about not moving, and maybe just have a packing party to address those things I don't need in my life anymore.

Friday, March 9, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 9

On this the 9th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game I wasn't able to come up with nine related things. And so I had to scour my home for a variety of things that added up to nine.

And it wasn't easy...which makes me a little anxious about how the double-digit days will be for the remainder of the challenge.

Day 9

I was able to part with two hardcover books I received - both will go to a young family member. I found two cat toys that our kittens did not like that will either be discarded or given away. I had a set of three Scandia Home towels (bath sheet, bath towel, hand towel) in a color I didn't like ("Iris") that I'm giving away to a family member - I wish they looked as grey in real life as they do in the pic, as I might have opted to keep them. I'm giving away our old Bodum French Press to someone who doesn't mind purchasing a new filter. (We made the move to a Chemex and won't be going back.) And I've passed along an old Menu toothbrush cup (the interior was recycled) whose exterior is coated steel and can serve as a small vase or pencil cup.

So that seems like it's nine. But it wasn't easy to reach that number without opting to start counting things like bent paperclips. Which makes me a tad anxious for tomorrow's purge.

Off to poke be continued...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 8

The eighth day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game is bit of a hodge-podge purge-wise. Though I've tried to keep it to similar-ish things.

As the game/challenge progresses, however, I have a feeling it will get harder and harder to find items that are alike in any way, so the piles will become more random. And it's very like the stuff being discarded/donated/sold will be less meaningful/valuable vs. more meaningful.

For today...

Day 8

In the heap of linens (left to right) is a bath mat from DWR that I never loved and had long since replaced with ones that feel great underfoot. It will be finding a home with a family member. Beneath that is a very much loved fitted sheet from Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic that got destroyed (in just a week) from our kittens - too many tears and holes to sew (I tried). Next is a ratty, well-used microfiber cloth that no longer picks up dust like it should. Hidden beneath that is a bra with a recently broken strap. And on the right are four kitchen towels from Williams-Sonoma that I loved for a few years, but replaced with new towels about six months ago that left less lint behind yet never gave away or discarded. (They are being used as packing material/cushioning for the box being sent to a family member who may or may not keep them for their kitchen or repurpose them as cleaning rags.)

The problem with purging...

As I purge and empty spaces start to appear I get excited for the emptiness. But I also start to think about what things I might want to purge in order to replace them with nicer things, or more sustainable things.

This "modern" minimalism concept seems to be all about surrounding yourself with things that are useful and/or beautiful. So this desire to acquire things that serve both functions holds great appeal. And while this concept as it applies to my possessions might not mean I'll be increasing my possessions, it certainly isn't helping to reduce them.

It also feels like yet another way to "cheat" the game - dispose of 10 items for Day 10, but acquire 10 more better/nicer/more beautiful items to replace those 10 items going away. No one ever really talks about how much they've acquired during their 30-Day Game vlogs.

Since starting this game I've acquired:

  • 2 new fitted sheets (one to replace the one discarded for the game today, and one to replace the one the kittens destroyed last week pre-game). Both sheets were needed as we had zero after their destructive claws. But this game purged item hasn't caused my number of things to go down. [Net zero]
  • 2 new duvet covers. While our existing duvets had not been destroyed, they are loved and were expensive, so we purchased two less expensive and more durable ones until the kittens get older and less destructive. [Plus two]
  • 1 new container to hold our duvets. Because we now had two duvets that used to get cycled onto our beds that were just going to be storage for a while, we needed something to store them in. [Plus one]
And I know for future days of this game (spoiler alert) I plan on swapping out our existing hangers (which we've had for a decade, if not more) for more sustainable, slimmer, better quality hangers. So those will net zero as well in the reduction of items count.

Still hopeful...

I am still quite hopeful that this challenge will result in many, many fewer possessions - especially those that don't have meaning and/or function in my life. And will hopefully make our move next month that much simpler and more stress-free.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 7

It's Day 7 of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and I'm so happy to find that I've lasted one week (and have purged a total of 28 items from my home).

I know it's not going to get any easier, especially on those days where 28 items are expected for just the one day. But for today...

Day 7

For today's purge, I have this lovely set of coasters from Arne Jacobsen's Cylinda bar line, plus the holder. We used them for a very brief time, but as they didn't work well with the size of glasses and mugs we own/owned, they became a purely decorative "piece" on our side table, and then eventually got put away into our kitchen cupboards and just became pretty clutter.

As I have a family member who is more than happy to give them a home, I will be giving these away (I already have a box nearly packed and ready to be sent).

A couple surprises...

One. I did not expect to be surprised by this game. I've seen enough people do it on YouTube. But those people who participated had a ton of things in their home it seemed, whereas I felt that I had so few purgeable things.

But it seems I have plenty. And I suppose I should have known - as every time we move (which is quite often) I'm forever surprised by just how many little things magically appear that need to be dealt with that were not at all expected.

Perhaps that method of decluttering that people do where they take everything out of their cupboards really does make the most sense. Because even though I feel like I know every single item in each one of mine, I clearly don't know the half of it... like what exactly is in those two small containers under the kitchen sink, or what's lurking in the back of the pantry where I can't reach.

Two. I did not expect to get rid of some of the things I have gotten rid of. Such as: The Krenit bowls were ones I very much "loved" and will likely "love" again should I see them online in the future. But they're just pretty bowls, that took up space in a cupboard, that required cleaning every so often, that would have required packing and moving and unpacking, and further cleaning. As I'm not one for ornamentation of any kind (no tchotchkes), and that's what they had become. I have bowls of the same size that I could use in a pinch if need be to hold fruit or snacks, ones that also serve another purpose. So off they went.

And while it makes sense, I didn't think it would be so easy to let go. Or that I would let them go so soon. I could see myself scrambling for things to purge at the end of the challenging and giving them away when it was time to make those hard decisions. I could not have imagined they'd be among the first to go. Maybe I have stepped a bit closer to my goal of minimalism in that my possessions have less of a hold on me. Hmmm....

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 6

The sixth day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game is also fairly simple. As a have a number of books I've read that I can pass along, I'll be able to do so over the course of a few days of the challenge - or can add in a few books on days where coming up with X number of items proves difficult.

So for today...

Day 6

One of the books I'll be sending along to a family member, the remainder to someone who's a fan of these type of reads. I'm happy to be able to give them a home elsewhere so that they'll be able to be enjoyed as much as I enjoyed them.


The temptation to finish early. One of the things I'm finding most challenging about this game is not getting ahead of myself. Once started I want to keep my momentum going but I can't if I'm going to stick with the rules of the game. And if I separate out the items and take the snaps in advance, I feel like I'll be cheating in some way. Or even if it's not really considered cheating, completing the 30-day game in less than a week won't feel like as much of an accomplishment and it will make me wonder why I even participated.

Going it alone. It's not quite as fun as I imagine doing it with a friend would be. But I don't know a single person who is interested in minimizing (though I know a few people who might benefit from a decluttering and/or a simpler way of life).

Sticking to my own stuff. It's very hard when your spouse doesn't share the same belief in minimalism that you do. And while he isn't half the consumer I am, and doesn't have too strong a connection with his things, he does consume and has a few things that I might consider sellable, donate-able, recyclable. Especially with our pending move and the knowledge that he will eventually go through his things to eCycle them, it's very hard not to push him to do it now so that he can unofficially join the game or give me his disposables so that I can count them for mine.

To be continued...

Monday, March 5, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 5

Well, it's the fifth day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and it's still pretty easy. Especially since today's purge is a no-brainer and one of the things that every minimalism video or book discusses getting rid of.

So the day wasn't much of a challenge. I guess I'm glad there will be a few of those, as I know down the road a week or two I'll be looking frantically around my small space, wondering if there are any Q-Tips that I might not be using before I move.

My only real drawback during this process is that I am also acquiring things, so at the month's end, I won't be down 465 items, as I'll have acquired at least twenty or thirty things in that time. (Or more, if we're counting everyday necessities - and I should given that some of the game participants that I've watched have purged pencils, makeup, thumbtacks, paperclips, pens - and since I plan on doing something similar in the later days of the challenge.) Though I will only be purchasing things that will be used often, used "in full," or used and loved (like the someday-to-be-delivered nightstand for my husband).

But for today...

Day 5

I always have grand plans for magazines, but never have enough time to read them as I want to. So I am purging these five not-read-in-full magazines, though I did skim them and check out the few of-interest articles I couldn't resist taking the time to read.

Perhaps this is the way I should approach all magazines - at least until my subscriptions lapse - do a quick glance through, appreciate certain pictures, and take the time to read only what I most value in the moment. Maybe this will prevent any future pile ups. Hmm. Food for thought. Especially as it will avoid any guilt I might have for not reading them or for purging them without giving them the proper attention I thought they deserved.

[I will recycle these as I don't have someone nearby enough that will enjoy them, they contain my personal information which would require defacing them so I don't want to craigslist them, and don't want to foist my discards onto someone who doesn't have a need for them.]

Easy day, this Day 5. Still thinking ahead to the woes of the eighth day. I so wish digital clutter counted.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 4, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 4

Even though it's only the fourth day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game, of course I'm already thinking ahead to days five, six, seven and eight, and worrying (slightly) about what will happen at the end of the month when each day demands a multitude of items in the purge pile.

I'm trying to think about what items match the exact count of a specific day of a challenge so I can "slot" them into that particular day. Or whether lids can count as separate items to containers I have.

And it's taking up far too much angst and energy - something the game is probably not intended to do. I have a feeling The Minimalists were trying to make something stressful (parting with possessions) fun and not making it possibly more stressful (and less simple) than it would be if one were to just go through their things.

I don't think doing this with a friend would have helped, given that it might have triggered something competitive in my nature. And while I don't mind if a friend does a better job than I do, I don't like losing, and so would toss things that were meaningful just so that I wouldn't "fail" the game.

But for now, all is somewhat well, though I know exactly what I'm going to get rid of tomorrow, the next day and the day after that. It's day eight that's posing a problem unless I split some of those purge items until day nine. We shall see.

What I like about this challenge is the structure and the fact that it drives me to succeed. So at the end I will have accomplished something and will hopefully have "won" the challenge and will feel successful at doing something so proactive.

For now, though, I'm only on...

Day 4

I had wanted these iittala Kartio tumblers forever - not necessarily the color, but the glasses themselves. And when I had a gift certificate to Amazon I decided to get rid of the 24 Angela Adams glasses I had (too many) and reduce to having just these four. But the moment the arrived I had doubts. My tastes for kitchenware had changed from modern to something more homey. Yet I tossed the packaging and so couldn't return them and regretted that decision ever since. So off they go. [Again, I'll likely see if a family member is interested and/or craigslist them - though I think my family would appreciate them.]

So that's day four. A pretty easy decision. Especially since I found a set of beautiful, handblown, clean and simple glasses that are as functional as they are beautiful - though only sold in a set of six - that we have been using and loving for the past month.

To be continued...

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Embarking Upon the 30-Day Minimalism Game: Days 1-3

A lot has changed over the past seven months, yet much has remained the same.

I am still striving for simplicity and trying to understand why my physical "clutter" causes so much mental clutter. I've also been trying to be more health conscious and environmentally conscious, though I know I'll never be anywhere in the realm of ideal on either front. But small steps are still steps in the right direction, so I'm not going to dwell on any negatives.

I have done quite a bit of consuming over the last seven month. We adopted two cats who have many needs, and which I wasn't about to deny them simply because it doesn't fit into an ideal aesthetic.

And with the fact that we will be moving next month, I've already had a bit of a binge (new dishes, glassware), followed by a fairly significant purge (old sleeping bag, dishes, glasses, keepsakes/mementos). Yes, I've come to recognize that moving is a trigger for shopping for me. The promise of change in one area makes me want change in other areas, and so I reassess everything and feel this great "need" for new. While I've been strict with the "one in, one out" rule - even purging more than bingeing - I know that once I move there will be a "need" to acquire more things for the new (and larger) space.

So I've decided to attempt The Minimalists' 30-Day Minimalism Game - even if it means playing it all by my lonesome.

I'm not sure I'll have enough stuff to participate the last few days of the month - unless I save paperwork until the very end - but I will make every effort to stick with it for as long as I can and maybe I'll surprise myself with just how much "stuff" I've had hidden in nooks and crannies that haven't been used the two+ years we've been here. (I can't wait to see!)

Hopefully by the month's end I will have pared down enough so that moving will be a breeze - even with the fact that I will be acquiring just a "few" things for the new place - counter stool, entry shelf, bedside table for the husband, etc. (And while my husband will be doing his own decluttering of his gizmos, gadgets, wires and clothes, none of his purges will count toward my challenge.)

The 30-Day Minimalism Game

As it's now the 3rd of March, below are my purges for Days 1 through 3.

Day 1

An unused Moleskine journal that has not been used in the year+ it's been in my desk. I would love to be someone who journals. I'm not. [As I did write my name inside, it's going to a family member who won't care.]

Day 2

Two small Normann Copenhagen Krenit bowls. We loved using them for snacks or fruit or just to have on display in our old apartment. They're beautiful. But we stopped having snack foods around, have a larger bowl for fruit, and they've been sitting in our cupboards in this apartment for over two years, unused. [I am offering them to a family member, and if not interested will either sell or give away on craigslist.]

Day 3

We really enjoyed having these handmade items purchased from a seller on Etsy. We'd used the small bowl with plate for change, though it would have been better for food as the plate could serve as lid to keep the food warm. But since we have our new felines, the bowl was always at risk of being destroyed and so we purchased something a bit more substantial to hold our coins. And the mug held a generous amount of coffee even though it wasn't comfortable to drink out of due to the embellishment just below the rim. [So I am offering them to a family member, and if not interested will give them away on craigslist.]

That's it for today. Will be back tomorrow with Day 4's purge.

To be continued...