Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Minimalist Life

Preparations for our move still continue. Some people have asked if they can help, but frankly, this is something we have to do ourselves. It's not like we can just ask someone to pack up a shelf of items, because we have to go through and decide what to give/throw away.

We have already rented a storage unit, and we have made several trips to take boxes there. When I get to the storage unit, I heave a sigh of relief when I see how much room is left. But then when I come home, I forget what it looked like, and I begin to worry that it won't be big enough, and that we will have to rent a more expensive one. But suffice it to say that we want to keep that monthly rental expense down.

We have always planned that we would some day move back to China for a few years. Because of this plan, we haven't really spent a lot of money on expensive furniture. In fact, most of what we own was either given to us, or we bought it from a garage sale. We have decided that we will just get rid of almost all of our second hand furniture, and when we come back, we will start over.

That might sound scary to some people, but actually it is a very freeing thought! It's been so nice to get rid of all of our junk, and pare down to the essentials, and to those items that are most meaningful to us! As I see the bedrooms being emptied, it makes me think that we should have been living this way all along.

I don't know, maybe all of you out there already live a minimalist life. Maybe you do yearly purges when you get rid of all non-essentials. But we tend to be creatures of habit, and after living in this house for 16 years, we have found that we haven't thrown out as much as we thought we did. But I think my future will be different. I think I will store less, and keep less. I think I will focus on buying things that I really love, instead of just living with whatever hand me downs I get.

With that in mind, I still am holding on to something my neighbor said to me. She told me about a friend who had a beautiful ventriloquist doll that her mother had given her as a child. It was a true treasure to her, but when her friend was having a garage sale, she decided to purge junk out of her life, and put the doll in the garage sale. She left it at the friend's house in a box, and then went over to the school to help in her child's class. As she was helping, she began to have a nagging feeling about the doll. It was really a huge part of her childhood. She realized that this was something that she should keep, so she ran back over to the garage sale to retrieve it. But it was too late, someone had bought it. My neighbor wisely advised me to not get rid of anything I would later regret. I think she is right, and I have tried to keep that in mind. My "treasures" that are boxed up in our storage unit may not be meaningful to others, but they are to me. The things I have thrown out are things I can gladly part with. And I think that is what makes minimalism possible.


Grannymar said...

Every few years I do a clear out, but this time I have let it slide a little. I have delayed the start perhaps because I know in my heart it will be a bigger clear out and sizing down to fast approaching old age.

Goodness that sounds morbid, Maybe I'll call it my 'going to Australia' clean up!

Rummuser said...

We moved homes many times in our married life, and every time, we would shed some stuff. I can't wait to do that again when I get out of the current house and move into a smaller more manageable smaller home.

Delirious said...

Ha ha Shackman, I think it would be more accurate to say I am a pack rat that is a "minimalist wannabe". :D

Erik Littles said...

That’s one thing that many people don’t appreciate about having self-storage units. It’s not just a place to put things that we have in excess, or things that are valuable to us that we don’t want to lose. It’s also a great way of taking stock of a part of our personal history. Going through the things you keep in your storage unit reminds you that you are, in your own way, blessed to have had so many things that hold some sort of value to you, even if they probably don’t seem like such a big deal to others.

Ericka Muldowney said...

Awww. =( That story about your neighbor losing the doll made me sad. It’s a good thing that you know how to organize your stuff. When it comes to deciding which ones to keep and which ones to throw out, it’s best to think about it very carefully so that you won’t regret it.