Minimalism and Me
While in the dentist's waiting room I read in some Home/Deco magazine (it didn't look too old) that there were some studies done that compared us, North Americans to Europeans with regards to our living quarters, furnishings and general inside clutter.
It showed that Europeans live in smaller homes (obviously, less available space). They drive smaller and fewer cars (obviously, check out how narrow some of those old roadways are and even Ikea hasn't figured out how to park even the smallest car in a space made for a bicycle). They also produce less waste (that's to be expected if you start out with less naturally you'll have less waste). Throughout all this "less" or should I call it Minimalism they're supposedly happier on the whole, then us here across the big waters, Americans and Canadians alike.
After coming home with a numb mouth and possibly a drooling problem from the dentists, I looked around me. Now if I were to take that report at face value, and figure out how I can become as happy as them (mind you I haven't decided that I'm unhappy yet). How would I become one of them Minimalists? What can I change? Obviously I won't be able to shrink down my home. With gas prices the way they are at the moment, I'm sure not just mine but quite a few cars are seeing way less accumulated mileage. So that takes that issue away.
I'm down to inside furnishings etc., the material stuff that's lying around the house. Represented are a lot of things that I decided I just had to have. A lot of them are broken promises to myself; I had every intention of using these things to change my life and my lifestyle. This is okay! Let's start by change that is easily do-able, I'll minimize by giving up the thread-mill and exercise bike. (Wow! Look at that, I'm so much happier already).
While I'm at it, what exactly is a minimalist? A minimalist is someone according to the dictionary who:
advocates a moderate or conservative approach, action, or policy
is a practitioner of minimalism
relates to, characteristic of, or in the style of minimalism
is or provides a bare minimum of what is necessary
To put that all into my words a minimalist is someone who only has possessions that are necessary, and refrains from buying anything unless there is an immediate need.
Okay! Let's say I will try to conform to minimalism. I have a feeling that it could get quite overwhelming and nasty. I would think the key to success would be to start small.
My closet would be a good beginning. Looking at each item separately, if they don't fit now (having given up the exercise equipment... for the sake of my happiness... of course) chances are they will not fit 3 months from now either. But I could remake... Forget about it; simplify is the key here. Oh wow I forgot about this... I always liked this cute mini leather skirt... it should come back in style within the next 15 to 20 years... I wonder if my legs could pull off wearing that then... For an efficient clean-out job, one and all will have to be removed from the closet. What to do with that skeleton or two "hmmm, into the box for the thrift shop someone might want them for Halloween deco"... (I'm just so overbearing and firm when I'm talking to myself) I'll need to be strong, it's important my future happiness might be at stake here....
The six discard piles are growing:
Trash can and recycle bin: anything and everything I was going to fix when I got ‘a-round-to-it'.
Women's and children's shelters: anything that can help rebuild lives is always in need here, from women, children and baby clothes, toys, small household items and blanket and pillows etc.
Thrift shop box: all good usable items, if someone doesn't have something even if it's a bit old fashioned might be better than none. (have to remember no broken or ripped items)
Church bazaar or white elephant sale: remember only in-tact items, from teacups to knick-knacks, to left over yarn which are usually happily accepted.
Consignment shop: most of these shops take on items that are still in fashion and in good shape from adult to children and baby items too.
Garage sale: I wonder if I'll get ambitious enough as to try to sell all this stuff. I just have to remind myself that all the items not sold will need to go to the thrift shop instead of back in the house otherwise all this would be an effort for nothing.
I did it, wow, walking into an uncluttered room sure feels different it let's me see and focus on those items that really matter. It is so much easier to clean. A quick sweep with the vacuum and dusting is done in a jiffy with all that clutter and most of those small fiddly knick-knacks gone. It shows off my key-pieces to perfection, that up till now have always just faded into the background. Also, with less clutter my whole living space looks bigger and airier.
Let's hear it for Minimalism my new beginning...
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