November 3, 2014

The Virtues of Minimalism

I doubt anyone who's ever been to my house would describe me as a minimalist.  Ever.  As a matter of fact, the opposite is true.  I seem to be a bit of a, um, an accumulator, shall we say?  Almost zealously an organized string-saver.  And a sentimental one, at that.  Talented, however.  "A functional hoarder," my husband maintains.  I decorate with most of it and justify the rest by organizing it into well-labeled boxes and bins.

But, after our recent move over 700 miles with two full size moving trucks, I'm sure my dear husband wishes I weren't so attached to...things.  And quite so many of them.

In some ways, so do I.

Oh, I'm not ready to part with my great uncle's paintings or my late father's favorite shoes yet.  But now, after experiencing first hand the effort it takes to MOVE one's belongings, I have a much greater appreciation for my husband's utter and nearly complete detachment from...things.  Items.  Stuff.  Belongings.

Baggage.  Literally.

(No, I'm not kidding.  I have two sets of luggage and haven't traveled in years.)

It seems that at no prior time in human history has there been a society wherein its individuals were such colossal collectors of clutter!  And I am one of them.  It's a byproduct of America's staggering general wealth, compared with the rest of the known world.  Just look around.  Look around your own home and see the piles -- literally small heaps huddled about -- of papers, books, clothing, toys, pillows, shoes, etc.

So, perhaps it's time to pare down.  A bit.  But, how does one purge?  Where on earth does one start!?  Especially when faced with numerous colossal heaps like mine?

Well, as a dear friend of mine likes to say, "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time."

Amidst the overwhelming avalanche of, "Clear Out The Clutter!" advice out there (which, personally, just makes my brain feel even more cluttered), I found a very quick, simple link (Pinterest, baby!) to a list of, "20 Things You Can Get Rid of Without Even Missing."

The list is simple, divided up by rooms, only two or three sentences per item.  No calendars.  No arduous 40-day schedules.  No household colonoscopy preparations.  No goals to feel guilty about, because you fell short.

And if you're not sure whether or not to purge something, try my personal tactic of putting the item(s) in a black garbage bag in the garage for six months.  Tape a slip of paper on the bag with today's date.  If, in six months, you haven't fetched back or needed the item(s) (or even remember what's in that bag!), then tell yourself it's time to let the contents of that bag bless someone else's life and throw it in the front seat of your car to donate it quickly to your nearest charity or thrift shop.

Believe me, you'll be amazed and thrilled with the fresh air, new space, and light that literally will swirl through your heart and your home when you clear out even just a few things that you truly don't need.

Either that, or your kids are gonna have one helluva yard sale when you're gone.  Don't worry, I won't be there though.  I've already been told I'm grounded.  Forever.

See you at the church thrift shop drop off!

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