I was mucking around on Pinterest last week, and I kept seeing all these posts about Minimalism. I wasn’t entirely sure what Minimalism was, I actually thought it was probably part of that Tiny House Movement (shudder), but I took a closer look and I started realising that it was exactly what I had been trying for, without achieving it of course, for the past few months.
It is a way of decluttering, by only keeping the things that are most important to you. My husband and I have been trying to get rid of things that we don’t need or just don’t want anymore. I had cleaned out my closet and donated the decent clothing (those without holes and dirt that won’t come out, not what you were thinking. Bad people! haha) to the thrift store at the church.
THE BIG BIN
Once a year the complex we live in, brings in a big bin, and you can get rid of things that you don’t want by throwing them into the bin. The first bin is usually overflowing within a day or so, the company comes and takes that one away and leaves us another empty one for another week and a 1/2.
Because everyone knows its coming, they start stockpiling the things that are going to be thrown out, so as soon as the bin comes, they can get down to it. My husband is ready to go by the night before, so that, on the day the bin is supposed to arrive, he gets home at 12:30 usually (he starts at 4am) and the loading of his truck begins. He and my son load everything they possibly can into the bed of the pickup and then drive down to where the bin is and empty out the truck. Then they come back and start all over again. By the end of the day, all of the stockpiled stuff is now in the bin, and the search for more begins.
I AM A PACKRAT
Now, you have to understand, I am a packrat by nature, I am not defending myself, it’s just who I am. I am that person who holds on to things, “JUST IN CASE”, so as you can imagine, there is always quite a bit of stuff that can go into the big bin, even over my protests, or indecisions (you know, “should I, shouldn’t I keep it”, just in case). In my head if I hear just in case when thinking of an item it automatically goes into the pile to be dumped into the bin.
We are beginning to think of the time when the kids will have moved out (if that ever happens) and we will be downsizing quite severely. At the moment, we live in a three level townhome of about 1800 sq ft., we are thinking about downsizing into a condo with a grand total of a 1000 sq ft. max, and only two bedrooms. Everything on one level so that Hawkeye’s knees and my disability are given a break, (in our present home, their are actually four sets of stairs that we have to navigate to get to the bedroom level, and the laundry is on the bottom level), and we don’t have to worry about falling up or down stairs.
I had held on to things like mugs, and plates and cutlery, thinking that the kids would want it when they moved out, so they didn’t have to go out and buy everything, WRONG. I was informed, that they didn’t want our old stuff and that everything would be brand new when they moved out, so all of that stuff, went in the big bin.
So, you would think that after two weeks of going through the house again and again, looking for things to get rid of, that the place would look pretty clean and clutter free, well, not so my friends, there is a pile in the basement of all the stuff I am going to be taking to the flea market to sell. I hesitate to mention, that the kids did little to no cleaning out of their cr*p, and the house pretty much looks the same as it did three weeks ago, but now I have this big pile of junk in the basement waiting for when I can book a table at the flea market. Take a look:
GOALS AND HOPES
Minimalism, my goal for the next year is to slowly take everything down to the bare minimum that we need to get by. I have a rack in my kitchen that holds all the bowls and baking dishes that I cannot fit in my cupboards, I am going to have to whittle down the things that are there to keep only those that I really love.
As you can see, there are bowls, baking dishes, muffin pans, vases, and my food processor, along with a host of other things that you can’t see clearly. The problem is that I usually use those things at least two or three times a year, if not more. The muffin pans and loaf pans get used at least three or four times a month, and the casserole dishes even more than that. I am wondering how I am going to whittle them down, when I love them so much. I love bright and colourful (I’m Canadian and we spell colour with a U) things in my kitchen, I’m afraid that black and white and stainless steel just don’t quite do it for me. I am really partial to the colours of the pottery and such that come from Spain.
WHAT CAN MAKE ME FEEL THIS WAY? MY STUFF!
Sorry, I couldn’t resist, it popped into my head and right on to the page.
I guess I will only keep the things that are full of colour and let the glass dishes and things that are not so colourful be sold at the flea market or donated to the thrift store. I have been reading up on minimalism and it says that you should keep the things that you love until you don’t have a use for them anymore. I can’t imagine not having a use for my casserole and baking dishes, I literally use them all the time. I bake at least twice a week and casseroles are part of the staples around here.
I was reading up on minimalism and one of the posts on Pinterest was; 11 Things You Need To Get Rid Of Right Now, and the things that they say to get rid of mostly make sense to me:
- Old Magazines
- Receipts, bills, and documents older than 7 years in our case, because Revenue Canada can make you go back 7 years on your taxes.
- Clothes, they say to use the two year rule. If you haven’t worn it in two years, it goes.
- Books, now this one I don’t understand, I never get rid of books, or at least I didn’t until Hawkeye threw out all the boxes of them I had under the stairs into the big bin this year.
- Medicines and Vitamins that you don’t take or are out of date. PLEASE DO NOT THROW THESE IN THE GARBAGE, take them back to your pharmacy and they will dispose of them safely.
- Makeup and Perfume, anything that is out of date or you don’t wear anymore, get rid of. What, you think that one day you will wake up and say “Hmm, I think I’ll wear that lipstick or foundation that I bought 10 years ago, it will work well now I’m really in need of some breakouts or pimples!”?
- Jewelry – if it’s missing one of the pair, or if it’s in need of repair and it is costume jewelry, say BYE,BYE,BYE (OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN, sorry these pop into my head and are out on the page before I can stop them. Can you tell that my daughter was into Brittany Spears and NSYNC when she was little?) If it is the real deal jewelry, and you don’t want it anymore, or it needs repair, take it to the jeweller if it needs repair, or to the pawn shop if you don’t want it anymore. Someone else will probably be thrilled to have it.
- Food – go through your pantry at least a couple of times a year and make sure you get rid of anything that is out of date, and yes, canned items can and do have an expiry date. Check it and if you are past it or very close, toss it.
- Cards and Memorabilia – unless you can figure out a way to make a collage of the cards, then you probably want to get rid of them. If it’s something that you feel very strongly about, maybe put it in an album, or a shadow box if its bigger, and hang it on your wall. If you can’t remember when you got it, get rid of it.
- Notebooks – if you have a ton of these lying around then go through them and only keep the ones that mean something to you. Most of them will be filled with notes of courses or webinars or seminars that you attended and the information is not required anymore. I’m not saying get rid of your journals, they are too important to lose.
- Old or unused electronics – take out the sim card or remove the hard drive and sell those suckers on ebay or Craig’s list. They do not need to take up space in your home.
This was a post by Popsugar, and it was just the beginning. There were other posts like You Only Need These Five Things, or 12 Struggles of Minimalist Beginners, Pinterest was full of posts about downsizing and decluttering and becoming a Minimalist. Then I went to Amazon to see if they had books on how to begin, and they had so many I was overwhelmed and didn’t buy a single one.
I have no idea if I am ever going to make it to Minimalism, but, I am at least, going to try to get as close as I can because, God knows, I don’t want to have to pack all this sh*t when we move. We have been in this location since 1992, believe me, I want most of the stuff gone.
I could probably write another 2000 words or so on the subject, but I think I will stop here for now. I can always revisit it when I actually can show you that the house at least looks like we tried to get rid of stuff. For now, I will just say take care of yourselves, remember to stop and breathe every now and then, and watch out for stuff being chucked out of other people’s houses. HaHaHa!
Bye for now.