Posts Tagged ‘minimalism’

Life’s Priorities does not include Stuff!

February 21, 2010

During the last month, I learned a lesson that you may already know.  Life’s priorities does not include stuff! 

My boyfriend had surgery and his three-hour operation extended to seven.  Thus, both his hospital stay and recuperation time were longer than expected. 

We set up an office at his home since he cannot drive for two weeks.  As I moved items from my home to his, I realized that if these items were to disappear permanently from my life, I would not miss them.  Yes, there are memories of when I bought each one and why I picked it out at that time.  But during my wait at the hospital while he was under anesthesia, my energy and focus was on him…not my things! 

I am doing another sweep through my home and my pile of items to donate and sell has grown.  The last few  weeks were an important reminder that relationships with people are what is important in life…not the possessions we acquire. 

Closet items to go!

It’s the Little Stuff that is So Overwhelming!

January 20, 2010

Last week I began uncluttering my bathroom.  The project was an offshoot of my not being able to find my thermometer.   As I started taking things off the shelves, opening drawers, and searching underneath the sink, I decided to organize all the little things that had accumulated.

Originally, I was not concerned about getting rid of half of what is there, because it’s all stuff I regularly use, right?

Ha!  I opened up my medicine cabinet and as I straightened up the shelves, I realized I have five boxes of band aids!   And then I got to my first aid kit and found three more boxes!  Then there was the three storage containers of hair clips (haven’t worn a barrett in over a year), most of which were from when I had longer and thicker hair.  I recognized some that I’ve stored for…gulp…over 15 years!

So here’s what I’ve accomplished.

I consolidated the band aids, threw away old cosmetics, and placed items such as never used combs in my donate pile.  I also gave away a glass bowl I kept on the counter, I have two others on it and don’t need three.

An old seashell night-light (circa 1986) was also given away.

Items are now in boxes with lids and labelled.  I have enough towels for company and me. 

One drawer is empty and the others are less crowded.

I organized the linen shelves and got rid of mismatched containers that did not stack.

I acknowledged I was never going to use most of the hair and nail products I bought and said good-bye to those.

I learned that when I find something I like, I buy multiples…and usually more than I will use.

But most of all, I realized how much little stuff there is around me.  Hair items, nail products, cosmetics, shower gels, first aid supplies (in addition to my kit), dental items, there was far more than I need.  It’s the small stuff that is overwhelming to sort.

And I never did find the thermometer!

Carrying Around the Past

January 4, 2010

More than just coconut oil in a bottle...a link to my memories!

 

This weekend I began uncluttering my bathroom, knowing I’d find many things to donate or discard.     

As I was organizing items under the sink, I came across an old glass bottle, still partially filled with solidified coconut oil.  I twisted off the cap and memories immediately surfaced when I smelled its’ scent.  Richard, a former boyfriend, took a trip to South America.  He brought back a Dewar Scotch bottle filled to the brim with fresh coconut oil.     

I was 22 years old.  The coconut oil survived much longer than my relationship.  I moved the bottle from home to home, immersing it in hot water to liquify the oil and used it sparingly.      

Every time I use it, it evokes the memory of my first full-time job, living in a two bedroom duplex in Belmont, Massachusetts, and the way my life was then.  It was a time of many casual friendships, playing couples bridge with Cathy, Ron, and Richard on Wednesday nights after dinner at my place.   It was an easy lifestyle, with lots of social activities after work.  My sister and brother occasionally dropped by to visit.  I was happy.     

That’s why I keep the bottle, even though the oil is no longer fresh.  It is a simple way to step back and remember my life as it was during 1976.      

Yes, it was 34 years ago that I received this gift.      

The coconut oil’s shelf life expired many years ago.  But I continued to hold on to this tangible link of my personal history.     

I now know the memories are within me.  The physical object is unnecessary…but just in case, I photographed it before pouring out the oil for the final time.

A Return to My College Lifestyle

December 20, 2009

During a conversation with a friend this weekend, I reminisced about one of my moves during college.  I loaded everything I owned into my passenger vehicle and was able to move all my belongings in two car loads!  I used a 3 drawer cardboard container for my lingerie.  I had very few outfits, most of what I wore were jeans, boots, and t-shirts.  One of the biggest items I owned was a stereo system with large speakers.  I had a minimal amount of office supplies (primarily notebook paper and highlighters); a small amount of make up, very little jewelry, my Instamatic camera, and few decorative or collectible items.   I was living a minimalist life before it became a lifestyle descriptor!

I’m ready to lighten my load.  Today I gave a cute ball cap to Chris after our walk.  Yesterday I removed 50% of the books on one bookshelf and donated them to the reading room at the recycling center.  I began looking at items in my bathroom and what’s in my kitchen cabinets.  I no longer wish to invest the time it takes to maintain all these items!

The first photo is the bookshelf before I took action.  The second photo is what I decided to keep.  What a nice change! 

I’m turning back the clock to my former college lifestyle of living with less!