Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting rid of stuff

This photo shows all the boxes I have so far of things to get rid of. And by 'get rid of', I really mean donate. Growing up, we never just threw things away - we always donated what we could to thrift shops or Goodwill.

Inside these boxes I've collected clothes I never wear, VHS tapes we never watch, books I never read, dishes we never use, and clutter I don't enjoy.

Lately I've been reading a lot of minimalist lifestyle blogs:

  • Becoming Minimalist
  • mnmlist
  • Unclutterer
  • Zen Habits

    Something I read really struck me: Are your possessions weighing you down? Do you dread moving because it means packing up and hauling away all of your stuff?

    Yes. Last spring, we were trying to decide whether or not to move to a nicer place, but we decided not to: mostly because "moving SUCKS. We have SO much stuff."

    Deciding what to keep and what to let go of isn't always easy. First of all, looking through everything you own can be exhausting - that's a lot of physical matter to pick up, move around, and stack into boxes. Stuff has emotional value, especially if it was a gift. When going through my stuff, I tried to always think about the present: do I use this NOW, on a daily basis? I know what items of clothing I wear all the time, so I tried to see it as a grateful gesture to MYSELF to be getting rid of all those shirts that don't fit right, the jackets that don't make me feel awesome, or those pants that have never succeeded at making me feel badass. (And all your clothes should make you feel good.)

    Since my journey of getting rid of stuff began, I'm beginning to really notice habits of clutter and excess. I like fashion: fashion magazines, editorial photography, models, gorgeous clothing... but my relationship with high fashion has never been about consuming it. I've always been a spectator by reading the magazines, but never buying; scrolling through fashion blogs, but never participating.

    I follow fashion bloggers who share their fashionable outfits every day. They must own closets full of clothes! Do you really need 80 pairs of shoes? Or a different handbag for every outfit? It all just seems so excessive. Wasteful. Unnecessary.

    If fashion is your passion, then I understand how owning a massive wardrobe would be important to you. But I guess that's just not me. I feel guilty that I've kept more than 10 pairs of jeans in my wardrobe. I know I don't need that many!

    I've always been a collector, keeping everything. So suddenly changing my mind about my possessions is kind of a miracle. But something one of those minimalist writers said really resonated with me. Who would ever want to be held back by the stuff they own? Why do we feel like we need SO much cluttering up our homes and living spaces?

    Minimalism is an ongoing process that never ends. It's about constantly revising and asking yourself what is really important. So far, my first few steps into paring down my life have been amazing. It feels incredibly freeing to finally have free space in my dresser drawers and breathing space on my book shelf. And I'm not done yet.

    A good place to start - How to Let Go of Possessions

    Some inspiration, perhaps: there is a group on flickr called too much stuff!.

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