Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Wanna Be Minimalist

As I think about what makes us live longer, more content lives, I remember my father sitting at the table in the mornings drinking from his large coffee mug as he “studied” on his day and week ahead. He always had plans for tomorrow. He lived to be 87 years old.

I find myself doing the same thing. When I get down and have health issues, I get depressed. But as soon as I feel a little better, I get out my legal pad and begin to make a list. I write down my plans for the coming week. Each day is a clean slate with space for me to take to use as I want. 

My new calendar for 2017 excites me as I think about how I will fill each day. This year will be a bit different from last year. I am intentionally leaving more spaces open on my Writers Circle calendar. I am setting forth on a journey that will be quite different.

I have started already. Every day I take a few minutes to go through a drawer or a cabinet or a shelf in the storage room and pack up things I no longer need or use. I don’t spend a whole day on this, but just a half hour of getting rid of socks, or half empty bottles in my bathroom, or clothes from my closet lifts my spirits. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment.

I realize that part of the reason I feel so much better when I go away from home is that all the flat services in my house are covered with something. Magazines, newspapers, books, boxes, mail and more collect on tables and chair seats, on counters and desks. 

Getting rid of paper is my first priority. As a writer, I can’t seem to get away from paper. I have piles of poems and stories that I haven’t had time to go through and revise. I have files of notes for my classes and they need organizing. Why is it so hard to throw them away when I have most of them filed on my computer? Maybe it is my fear of computers and their failings that show up when I most need them to be reliable. Save them in the Cloud, I’m told, but I don’t trust the Cloud or maybe I don’t trust my ability to gather them back when I need them.

I can never be a minimalist, I am afraid, but I can certainly do without much of what is in my house and my garage. When I look around at my studio and all the tables covered with boxes and bags, etc. from my storage room, I could become overwhelmed, but I am going to work on it in small pieces. One box a day or one end of the table tomorrow.

No Traveling 
To do this I will have to spend most of my time at home this winter. No trip to Florida as I had planned. Not unless I get more done that I think I can.

When I mentioned this on Facebook, someone said I should blog about it. So I decided to write and share my intentions with my readers.

It seems most of us want to declutter our lives. I am watching some videos on You Tube about minimalism and they motivate me to do better. I am disgusted at what we all buy and waste in this country. The plastic junk made in China fills our land fields. We buy another tee shirt when we have fifteen in drawers in our homes. We fill up all our spaces until we have to move to a larger house to hold all the toys the kids have. I heard that some people rent storage units because they have used all the space in their houses and garages. 

I am not going to be part of that community anymore. It will be difficult for me, I admit. I often feel the need for Retail Therapy. Just buying a new lipstick or hand cream gives me a lift. But when I do buy another lipstick, I will consciously throw away an old one. I will feel so good when I do.
What about you? Do you find yourself over run with too much stuff? If you have conquered this problem, please tell us how you did it.


Anonymous said...

I'm so happy that you are decluttering and feeling good about it! Now you are motivating me to get some of this clutter out of our house. If I can just get one step ahead of Stu's cluttering, then I will feel good. He doesn't like to get rid of anything, so I have my work cut out for me. But you make me feel it is possible. Thanks!!

Glenda Council Beall said...

Thank you so much for your comment, Anonymous, (Gay Moring) I am happy if I can motivate anyone to de-clutter, but dealing with a hoarding husband is hard to do. I have been there. Barry never wanted to let anything go once he owned it.

Perhaps you can interest Stu in taking 1/2 hour a week to work with you on letting some things go. Often it takes another person to help the clutterer see how he can do as well with half of what he owns.

I have a great idea for those who have pieces of clothing they hang on to for sentimental reasons. My friend, Rosemary Royston, makes journals and things out of found objects or fabric we hate to give away. She will work with you to see how she can use leather from handbags, fabric from old clothes, etc. to make a lasting object you can keep and use. Find her on Facebook or email me and I can help you. Rose's blog is Luxury of Trees.

Ellen Schofield said...

Years ago I found Suze Orman. She is known for her financial acumen, but she also advocated getting rid of what you don't need. It's such an empowering thing - you can forget about those things and move on with your life. Spend more time with people you love. I'm so glad I found her, cuz her advice worked for me. Kudos to you, Glenda. Next thing you know you'll feel so much better.

Elephant's Child said...

I live with a pack rat too. Who still has the socks he went to boarding school in, despite the fact they haven't fit him in decades.
I can't change him, but I can change me. And slowly I am taking steps that way. I feel that a cluttered house (and ours IS that) creates a cluttered mind. Which I can do without. So I am trying to move things out. And not replace them. Including books. Which I find very, very hard.

DJan said...

You have inspired me to start doing the same thing: going through drawers filled with stuff I don't need or use any more and recycling them either to the Goodwill or to the trash. Great idea! It will be something that I already know will make my life feel less cluttered. :-)

Far Side of Fifty said...

I refuse to become an old lady with every surface cluttered with "stuff"...especially in the kitchen, some kitchens I have been in have so much stuff you can hardly set a coffee cup down forget about making a meal.
I am doing a big sort in January, lots of paper accumulated here in different spots. One drawer or hat box at a time. I have lots to get rid of, I don't want my girls to have a whole house filled to the brim of stuff to get rid of.
Reduce, reuse and item at a time:) Good luck with your projects:)

Glenda Council Beall said...

Ellen, I used to be a fan of Suze, also.One of the things I am getting rid of is a large metal case
with stuff to help me organize my finances. Of course I didn't use it and so it sits in my storage room. Suze would be disappointed in me. I do enjoy her TV shows.
I haven't worked on my de-cluttering all day, so I will spend 15 minutes tonight sorting or throwing out stuff.

Vagabonde said...

I should have started to de-clutter years ago because now with my husband’s illness and my bad knees, it is slow and difficult, but it needs to be done. Jim wants to keep everything – when we go to the recycling to unload old brochures, ads and newspapers he refuses that I put them in the bin, it is a fight. This is why we can’t move, we still have way too much in our house. You are doing well – I wish I had been like you before I needed to move.