I never realized how many useless digital pictures I had on my phone until I started deleting them.
Lots of motivational sayings. Food, lots of food. More than one picture of the same thing.
Over 1,600 pictures.
Until now. Two days ago I started getting rid of them. So far 500 are gone. My goal is to get rid of another 500.
Besides getting rid of the random ones that I have no attachment to, there has been another benefit.
It's fun to scroll through and look through the pictures of family gatherings, concerts, our pets, and places we've gone.
I just don't need so many of them.
How about you?
When I post something of my own on social media or repost/retweet about living more simply, inevitably a few people will comment on why they like having all of their stuff.
If you're in that camp, I say, "Awesome! You keep doing you."
In fact, I used to be in that camp. I loved my stuff.
And then I got tired of all the stuff I had to dust around each week. I got tired of all the clothes, so many that I rotated between summer and winter with each season having its own tote. I got tired of so much stuff in drawers that it was easier to shove more in rather than go through it.
I simply got tired of all of it but wasn't sure what to do.
And then I started listening to this cool podcast and watched a documentary by the same name, The Minimalists. I've referred to these two friends who make up the dynamic duo, Jonathan Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, in previous posts. You can check out their story here.
I listened to their message, read about their journeys, watched their documentary, and read all three of their books. I consumed everything I could and branched out upon learning about other minimalists who are doing their thing living their lives in the way that best suits them.
And then I jumped to action. Sure, there were times when my husband worried I would purge him (he made the cut!) but minimalism isn't just about getting rid of stuff (but it is a solid starting point).
"Minimalism is not about deprivation; minimalism is about aligning your short-term actions with your long-term values." --The Minimalists
It's about getting real with yourself about what you want your life to be and then pursuing it with ridiculous and consistent passion. This is precisely why I started Everyday Life Uncluttered.
It's was about realizing that life is not a destination but a continuous journey. It's getting rid of the physical clutter that no longer serves a purpose. It's paying down debt to the point of living a life with more freedom. It's having more experiences over obtaining more possessions. It's enriching my life with more mindfulness in who I spend my time with and how I choose to spend my money.
I appreciate that my life is more about going for walks, finding the best pizza in town, reading books, writing, and spending time with my family. It's less about cleaning (we now live in a space of 835 square feet), searching for stuff, and not knowing what I do or don't have.
But as I said, it's a continuous journey. I still have too many books. I'm getting better at gifting some as I finish them (Side note: subscribe to my FREE newsletter on the home page, because I periodically give away books). I have a Kindle, but I still enjoy the feel of a book in my hands most of the time. My husband often tells me that I shouldn't buy another book until I have read the ones I currently have...and then I buy another one anyway.
I do like clothes, but I subscribe to one new item in, two existing items go out.
I need to do a better job of making sure we consume the food we have before purchasing more.
I want to be more mindful of the purchases I make. As much as possible, I buy from small independent businesses.
What often keeps me moving in the direction of keeping the stuff at bay is playing the 30-day minimalism game periodically. It's even better when friends and family join in to hold each other accountable.
So, you keep doing you, and I will keep doing me...with a lot less stuff.
"One day or day one. You decide." --Joshua Fields Millburn
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.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.