“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
― Chuck Palahniuk,
You learn about yourself in every moment of the day. For good or bad we are always evolving. When you move from one place to another, you learn even more about yourself. When you move from one state to another, it is a true test of self. You have to touch and make judgement calls about every single item that you own. It is exhausting and adds stress already compounded on the big move. I hate moving. I mean true hate here…
In our American culture it is always, “more, more, more.” Buy this and you will fill the void that is a gaping maw in your life. Eat this and you will feel good about yourself. It really is a bunch of bullshit. A bunch of bullshit that I was and still to some extant am still acceptable to. I admit it. I am of the Ohhhhhh shiny. When we moved to Portland from Las Vegas, we had so much crap that our three bedroom apartment looked like this. Every room, every space all the way up to the vaulted ceilings.
I ate cup o’ noodles for a long time because the apartment was wall to wall boxes, I could not cook. You cannot put stuff away when there are wall to wall boxes. You can just pull up a comfy box and sit and stare at another box. I am not a hoarder, but I sure as hell looked like one.
“You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.” Fight Club
Stuff controls everything. It is just stuff! At that point I was too scared to get rid of much stuff. “What will happen if I don’t have this perfect little thing?” This was a good wake up call, and living in this was even better. I now am almost phobic of clutter. Even though the house we currently live in now is still cluttered. It is much better, and a constant work in progress.
I set out to halve what I own each year. Take a close look at the items and figure out if they actually bring many any sort of joy or pleasure. If they do, I’ll keep. If they don’t they get passed on to goodwill. Additionally, I decided that I am done buying stuff retail and I will get much of what I need from second hand stores or the goodwill. It has been wonderful, if not a bit scary thing to confront and do. Wholly and completely liberating. I started with my clothes. I used to have two full closets of clothes, as well as many bunches gathering dust and insects in the garage. I went through, sorted and I now have 1/2 a closet and a dresser. Seriously that’s it. I figure I need to only buy things that make me want to twirl from now on. That is few and far between.
I am a book hoarder. I love the written word, the smell and feel of a book. There is so much power contained inside something small. It is a heady thing to hold in your hand. Then again it might be a crap romance book so your results may vary. Generally, books I keep are amazing . I have way to many amazing things. They got to go. First rule, if it is a trade paperback I give it to the library. If it is something I want for my collection it needs to be honored and be in hardback. Second rule, I have a finite amount of space and my collection needs to fit inside that space. It also can’t look like crap and dishonor the books. (I know. Weird.. weird) I made a list for myself of my absolute hands down favorites, you can find this list here. 6 star books This list has some of the books I find irresistible. Lately it has been trying to find hardback Dresden Files at the goodwill. Basically treasure hunting! I am now down to one and a half bookcases. Still a half to much, but it is a work in progress.
Future plans wise, I am going to copy all our important paperwork that does not need to be an original copy and store in on Amazon. This goes the same with pictures. They are protected and I can print and keep them safe. That gets rid of a lot of space.
I consider this goal to be a work in progress, but the feeling I get when I get rid of stuff is pretty awesome. I am not a minimalist yet, but I can see the allure. I’ll let you know when someone calls me austere. Teehee