January 7, 2011
My oh my. We’re moving this coming Monday. I’ve been shedding stuff like mad. Over the last month, we’ve seen three dressers leave the house. Ten bags of stuff to Good Will. Plus, hundreds of items via Freecycle. Then, you can read here about all of our stuff that went to the landfill in June. Hoping to get another dresser, plus our deep freeze out today via the free section of Craigslist. We’ve expended a ton of energy trying to get stuff out of our house. The kicker is that when I look around at what needs to go into boxes over the weekend, we still have a lot of stuff. Sigh.
Charlie and I have been reading about the growing Minimalism movement quite a bit, and we’re both very attracted to the philosophy. The idea is that having all this stuff around us has a cost. I’m using a liberal definition of cost. It includes money and time, but also emotional, spiritual, moral and environmental costs. The cost when you buy it. The cost of maintaining it. With more expensive items, the cost of keeping it safe. The cost of the natural resources that were used to make it. The environmental cost of disposal when you’re done with it. Then, there’s the person who made it in the first place. Did they have a safe working environment? Were they paid fairly for their work? Does the clutter stifle your creativity? Or your ability to relax and take a full breath in your own home? All this stuff is costly.
As we move into our new 1100 square foot house with very little storage space, we want it to feel roomy. My kids opted for extra play space over dressers, so we got rid of them. We got a shelving unit for each of their closets. If their clothes don’t fit, we’ll simplify their clothing until it fits. Charlie and I aren’t going to have a dresser in our room. We’d rather have a reading nook. We just want to live well in the space that we have, and excess stuff gets in the way.
If you’re curious, I would encourage you to check out the Miss Minimalist blog. Charlie and I drank in Francine Jay’s new book, The Joy of Less, over the holidays. I don’t think we’ll ever be true minimalists. I love a lot of art on the walls. I love lots of color. But, the book definitely made a huge impact on us.
Meanwhile, back to packing boxes. I would love to hear the strategies that you’ve employed to keep the stuff in your life from taking over.