I love this room.
It's where all the magic happens.
The magic of writing, thinking, pondering, dreaming, meditating, relaxing, creating, reading...
When I hang out in the blue room (which is at some point each day), it is both calming and energizing. It's the space where I feel most at home.
I was lying on the daybed when I took this picture. The power was out for a period of time this evening. I had been sitting at the little blue desk (is it any wonder that my favorite color is blue?) reading and taking some notes when I decided to shift. As I continued to read, this view suddenly struck me. I smiled, because it's such a representation of me:
The books on the portable bookshelf are the only physical ones I now own. I repainted the desk and found the chair at a cute boutique in Omaha (Among Other Things). Some of my half-marathon finisher medals are hanging on the curtain rod (no, I haven't let them go yet). You can't see it, but my yoga mat is leaning on the other side of the desk and a yoga stack my son got me is by the bookshelf. There is a small succulent growing and just out of eyesight to the left is a painting by my daughter. The dry erase weekly wall calendar helps me organize and allows me to celebrate the small victories each day.
I count my blessings to have a room like this in our house. As I continue to pare down to a move more toward minimalism in what I personally own, I periodically ask myself if I could fit all of my belongings in my car if I had to move tomorrow. Other than my clothes in our bedroom, everything else would come from this room. At this point, I'm 90% confident that everything I would want to take with me could fit into my car.
I know I still have more to get rid of, but I also know I have come such a long way in such a short period of time. I love the fact that I don't need stuff to define me, make me happy, or fulfill my life. While some people my age are looking at wanting bigger homes, I'm becoming the polar opposite. Instead of "Go big or go home," my philosophy is rapidly becoming, "Go small and be home."
...do it anyway.
You knew that was coming, right?
And yet, if you're like me, you might have been holding out a little hope. As in
...let it go.
...don't do it.
...just say no.
There is definitely a time and a place for those responses, but not for this piece. This is all about doing the stuff you don't want to do, but you know deep down you need to. You might even feel compelled to, or you might feel like you can't take the next step until you do this one.
Earlier today I posed a question on to our Facebook group, The May Minimalism Game. I'm going through boxes in order to get rid of and consolidate before putting them back into our storage closet. I have two more to go, and honestly, I'm sick of going through stuff. My question was, "Should I go through the boxes of my memorabilia or just toss them since I haven't looked through them in years?"
I hoped the responses would be along the lines of "just let it go," but alas, it was not to be. The consensus was to go through them and get the items down to one box.
The progressing minimalist in me wants to ditch them, but it would be selfish of me in a way. Really, the memories in those boxes aren't about me anyway. They're about what my kids and future grandkids might enjoy looking through someday, kind of a legacy so to speak.
I have to admit that I have come across pictures of my parents when they were younger, pictures of me surrounded by puppies when I was around one-year-old, and pictures of my grandparents. They have allowed me to pause and reflect, and those such warm emotions.
I totally get the memories aren't in the pictures. The memories are inside of me. However, those pictures trigger the memories more clearly. And yes, I could save digital pictures, but it isn't the same as holding the physical picture in my hand. There's something about the musty smell and feeling the slick black and white photos that aren't comparable to looking at something on a screen.
So, yes, even though I'm not excited about going down the rabbit hole of those memories in terms of the time it's going to take, I'm secretly glad the group nudged me in the direction of going through those boxes.
Even when I didn't want to...
Getting rid of stuff isn't difficult.
Getting rid of a lot of stuff isn't difficult.
Getting rid of a lot of stuff as you're nearing the end of the month is a bit more of a challenge.
As with any new habit, at the beginning it's all exciting and new. As I embarked on the Minimalism Game for March, I was pumped at the thought of getting rid of almost 500 items.
I got started with all the unbridled enthusiasm one could possibly have. I was practically giddy with excitement as I proudly got rid of one item after another.
I hit the halfway point and was still in my stride. This is easy, I thought. No problem, I said to myself.
And then the 25th day hit, and suddenly I came to a screeching halt.
What happened? How was I on a roll for over three weeks and then suddenly whammy?!
Part of it has to do with running out of stuff that was easily seen. Now I'm having to work harder and dig deeper. That's good though. I'm really looking through stuff and making tough decisions. I still continue to ask myself, if I was going to move tomorrow could everything I want to take with me fit in my car?
I'm not there yet, but I'm getting closer. It's time to go see what I can find.
When you find a phone book from 2008-09, you know that you've done the right thing playing the minimalism game.
I've spent the last two days going through the kitchen, mainly in the food area. And then I looked in the bottom drawer and found the phone book. I also found so many koozies that those could have been my 16 items today.
However, I also know my husband would have thrown a fit. We have a deal. I promised not to touch his stuff. The kooizies are his stuff. Believe me, I was tempted to get rid of some of them. Would he really miss them? Of course he would. Besides, he will get rid of them when he's ready.
In fact, I almost got in trouble earlier this week when he couldn't find a couple of his sports teams' cups. He was on the verge of accusing me of throwing them away when I found them tucked away in a cabinet. I think I heard a sigh of relief coming from him, but I can't be sure.
As I've hit just over the halfway point of the month, I'm embarrassed. I honestly thought that I would be struggling to find items to get rid of that I no longer need or use.
It tells me that I have way too much, still.
But with every item I throw away, set aside for the garage sale, or give away, I remind myself that I'm slowly but surely no longer going to be imprisoned by my stuff. When my husband and I decide to downsize, the move will be so much easier. In the long run, I will be giving myself the gift of the time. And that's the best gift ever.
This is me.
This is me creepily excited!
This is me creepily excited about playing the Minimalism Game!
I've been routinely getting rid of stuff for quite awhile, but now it's getting serious. I've thought about playing the Minimalism Game, but every time it pops into my head it's the middle of the month. I could start there, but I like a fresh slate.
The game is a way of getting rid of the excess, the stuff that no longer adds value to one's life. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists, created the game for this purpose. On the first day of the month, you get rid of one thing. On the second day of the month, you get rid of two things. You get the picture. By the end of the month, you will have gotten rid of 476 items (in a 31 day month).
What I think is cool is that Joshua, his partner, and her three-year-old daughter are doing it this month as a family, and they are already minimalists. If they can still find excess, then I should be able to do it quite easily as I know I still have so much that just takes up space.
The thing about me though is that for now it will be in a holding place. I plan to have a garage sale this summer and then whatever doesn't get sold will be donated. We have a village-wide garage sale in June, and so I'm thankful we have a room in our basement to stash what we no longer need. We don't even use the room and so it is definitely out of sight out of mind. I'm not tempted to go in to grab something back out.
I also keep reminding myself of the bigger picture when I think about playing the Minimalism Game. When my husband and I decide to downsize (in potentially a year or so), it will make our move so much easier. In fact, we were even talking this morning about selling most of our furniture in our house instead of taking it with us. Then we can furnish our new place with what we absolutely need.
Again, it all comes down to the reason for doing something, the why. For me, the why is simple, I want to have more experiences rather than being tied down to stuff. That's a big enough reason to periodically go through what I have and really focus on whether or not I've used it. If I haven't used it in 30 days, I'm probably not going to and I will get rid of it.
I will take pause when it comes to seasonal items. However, once that season is completed, I need to make sure I do a "cleanse" on those items. If I didn't use them, then they go. Once we get into spring, I will go through my winter clothing items and see what I wore and didn't wear. If I didn't wear it, then it will go. I've already marked my calendar for the first day of spring, March 20, because that's when I will do it.
We need to give ourselves deadlines. If we don't, then we are more than likely going to continue to put things off. So, stop putting things off. Join me in the Minimalist Game beginning March 1. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how you're doing. And while you're at it, subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter. Just say, "Sign me up!", and I will add you to the list.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.