Frequent readers know that I am trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle and euphemistically call the process of purging my excess belongings “simplifying” and even “destuffing”.
This week, I wrestled again with the shifting moods of my materialistic inner being. The mood on my day off was: get rid of the stuff you have been waffling about: let it go and see what happens. Previously, I developed a habit of selecting 5 items at a time to take to the thrift store. That has been fun, but I am down now to the bottom layers: favorite books, my Barbies and other dolls from the 1950s-60s, some nice accessories—the stuff with attached emotions. It is time to cut brutally.
I started on the books. I kept the field guides and some books from my dad’s childhood, and listed on Amazon anything that has some resale value. The rest I gave to the library. That was easy, because I have my two Kindles and I rarely read a real book anymore. What used to be a treasured collection became dust collectors.
Next, the dolls, and all their clothes, which I decided to list on Ebay. These dolls are in very good shape and for good reason: I never played much with dolls. I had a few baby dolls that I treasured, but anything else sat on a shelf, and still, I really don’t care much about these vintage dolls. Without a daughter or grandaughter to inherit them, what use are they? It is hard to imagine my Marine/Firefighter/EMT son toting them around in case he has a daughter some day!
Next on the Ebay auction block: a vintage typewriter that reminds me of my journalist Dad who died in 2009. Then, an antique slide storage box, vintage Pendleton wool jacket, and assorted traveling bags. In all, I listed 19 items. Three books already sold, as did a high end purse/wallet that I found in a dusty thrift store box. I have not used any of these items: most are things I picked up over the years because they were interesting. Yet, they sit in a closet, unused. As the cash came in, the emotions started fading!
Then, after successfully listing my stuff on Amazon and Ebay, I got out a box of garbage bags and dug in deeper. I parted with 50% of my Christmas stuff, old silk flowers, ancient sewing stuff, kitchen junk, vases, knick knacks, candles, unused office stuff, an old stuffed chair, plastic storage drawers, and plastic garden pots. When finished, for the first time ever, I knew what I owned, and where it was. I made a list just to be sure that I was not harboring useless stuff. I tried to imagine how many boxes it would take to hold all this stuff and I came up with a shocking 50-60 boxes!! How can that be, after years of tossing, selling, trashing?
What’s left that would take up so much room? Clothes, jackets, boots, shoes, canning jars and equipment, gardening supplies, 4 grow lights, 3 sets of dishes, sewing machine and stuff, craft supplies, kitchen stuff, small appliances, photos and mementos, home décor items, camping gear, and tools. Add to that my furniture and we are still talking lots of stuff. Once again, in removing one layer, I have only revealed yet another layer to tackle. However, as I look over the list, I see that for the first time, I use everything there. Perhaps I don’t need as many clothes, shoes, and dishes, but I have pared down my possessions to what I actually use. I have decided that is a big accomplishment and after sporadic efforts over 2 years, I will take a break for a while and focus more on not acquiring new stuff.