Over the past several weeks, I have been hard at work purging and minimizing the contents of our home. Minimalism is gaining momentum at the little shack! Streamlining the process is becoming easier.
It is funny.. the first thing or two that I unloaded was much harder than any of the subsequent items. It seems like I had been paralyzed by the concept that I was protecting and “saving” the junque and crap around me – and the mere thought of disposing of the lesser important items, brought me anxiety attacks! Literally!
But once I broke that “paralysis” that was holding me, broke that adhesive that had me stuck, it has become easier and easier! It feels like it is truly picking up momentum, like being launched in a race after being poised in the starting gate!
As the house gets emptier and emptier, my heavy little soul feels lighter and lighter. (The stacks and piles of sorted out household goods is actually very irritating, but my overall feeling is actually improving.)
The Purging Method
I started out by looking at all the contents of our home with a critical eye. A very critical eye. Along the lines of “What would my Grandmother(s) think of _insert item_?” And making the decisions on whether this item was: 1) Staying [followed by Van or Storage Fee-Worthy] or 2) Going [followed by Sell or Donate or Trash].
When I got overwhelmed, reducing it to two essential categories, made it easier to stay on-task and not get panicky with the multiple decisions to make. Either it was irreplaceable and had to be kept, or it was fair game and I could move it from sell/donate/trash piles multiple times before it became irreversible on trash day or the buyer showed up. I have rearranged those three piles on many occasions… LOL!
I started with big items and less frequently used items:
- The antique highboy in the garage that no one had used in a decade? Easy decision. Sold.
- The matching dresser to the one I use daily? Umm, I don’t need a second one, and while it matches my headboard and night table – I still don’t NEED a second dresser. Sold.
- Patio plants? Sold, one less thing to which I need to attend every couple of days. Make that buyer a wonderful deal by including that big bag of potting soil and those empty pots from last Fall. She was ecstatic and I moved out a pile of junque that I hadn’t been using, and that had been consuming my time.
As the larger things got taken away, it freed up space to address smaller things and more fiddly things. Open a box, weed through it, pull out the one heirloom item that actually needs retained, and toss the rest of the items in the garbage can before Trash Day. Set a goal of filing the trash can before garbage day each week, and you’ll be surprised at how much sh*t you can get rid of in a very short time!
Over Spring Break, my daughter drove down to address the boxes she had packed up from her childhood bedroom before she left for college. (For years, those boxes had been saved and moved and protected and even had their own bedroom.) She pared it down to a few boxes of mementos and five boxes of books. These weren’t going to fit in her little car, so we made a deal that she would take my pickup and we would take her little car for the next four months. That allowed her to take her items with her, to be addressed as SHE sees fit, at her leisure – AND the pickup will help her to move this summer! Efficient!
By removing myself from being the self-appointed Guardian of the Family Museum of Crap, I have relieved a huge burden of responsibility that I have carried for decades! I feel awesome!
Next Up: Books & Clothing
I have discovered that in the consumerism-driven economy in which we live, that things like books and clothing no longer have any resale value! No matter the true value of them, people are more interested in standing in line for days to buy the latest iPhone than in picking up a vintage book or quality jacket. If that jacket was “last year’s look” then it already has zero value!
Side Rant: There are dozens of “battered women” shelters in San Antonio, but I’ve discovered that there are no men’s shelters. There is nothing that serves the men of our community, other than the regular homeless shelter where they get a chance to secure a cot to sleep on and a meal, and they have to “re-apply” every day for the Hot/Cot and hope they get in. There are no let’s-get-you-back-on-your-feet places for men here… I find that very disappointing.
So,if a FAMILY shows up at a shelter, with their man in attendance, he is refused entrance. This tears apart the fabric of a family, to remove their man from the family unit. It is heart wrenching to think that in such a stressful moment, that a wife and mother has to do without the support of her husband! /EndRant
I searched and searched until I found ONE church that takes entire families, together. (A city of 1.5 MILLION people, and only ONE place that takes whole families?! Wow.) The Strong Foundation, San Antonio, TX
So, today, we dropped off a few bags of like-new clothing, toiletries, shoes, jackets, bed linens, etc. to them. They expressed interest in some kids’ toys and games, books (oh, yay!), technical/training manuals, briefcases, clipboards, things to facilitate employment, interviewing, and jobs! I am so psyched! We will have bunches of this, as we disassemble the desk and office supplies.
Feel Positive About The Minimalising Process
So, my suggestions are:
- Take little bites of your minimalism purge work, until you get a some momentum going. It will get easier as you go along. Don’t fret and worry about it, just start with things that you won’t miss and know you can “do without” and the process will build its own steam as it goes along.
- Sell what you can, to recoup some of your expenses. Don’t stress yourself over the things that people aren’t buying – just pass them along to others who are in need.
- Find somewhere that meshes with your values, to donate the things that are needed by others. It might not be the latest and greatest of goods, but there are many people who will appreciate the goods that you can donate!
- Keep an judicious eye on what you are saving for storage, as the expense of storing an item might quickly add up to more than that thing is worth. Keep the STORE pile as small as you can, and see if any of your friends or family would be willing to let you stash things like family photos at their place.
- And finally, the van has only 66 square feet of floor space. Once you’ve reduced your carry-on to a tiny amount – you’re going to need to reduce it again, even more! Eeeek! 😉
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