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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Miss Minimalist


As a blogger, it should be no surprise that I follow a few other bloggers.  And lately I have reduced my blog list considerably.  In fact, I have stopped using my on line blog catcher and just subscribe to blogs using the email option.

Keeping the lists of subscribed blogs small has been part of my "smaller is better," "less is more" change of heart over the last few years.  One blog has been helpful in inspiring me in this direction.

Living a beautiful life with less stuff

This blogger and the book she wrote on this subject have been featured in many well known news vehicles such as CNN, BBC, NBC Today, Forbes ... just to name a few.  Certainly there are a large number of excellent web resources on simplifying and minimalism, but Miss Minimalist seems closest to my own middle-of-the-road mindset on the subject.

There is one feature I really enjoy.  Each Monday she posts a piece contributed by various followers about their journey to reducing stuff and adopting minimalism.  I love reading about others and the paths they chose for their lives - even if I wouldn't necessarily follow in all their foot steps.  It is amazing how many ways you can approach the minimalist life style.

Today I noticed her post was about moving from one residence to another with a minimalist mindset.  How timely!  We have been contemplating the wisdom of making a move to a smaller more senior friendly place the last few months.  That decision is still a big question mark for us.

However, as I am cleaning out my own abode - I kept these thoughts in the back of my mind ...

  • Have I used this item in the last year?
  • Would I keep this item if I were moving next week?
  • Would I pay money to pack, transport, and unpack this item?  
  • Would this item be worth the time to wrap and box up ... and unbox and use in a new home?  
If the answer was "no" to any of these questions ... why would I bother keeping it now?  I have my hands on this item right now.  Does it make sense to keep it and face this decision again at a time when I am actually moving?  Why table this action to discard an item to a time when the stress of an actual move would weigh me down with all the stuff I kept today? And even if I don't move ever again, is it fair to leave this task to the loved ones I leave behind?

I will say that going through this downsizing process has been exhausting.  I typically spend about 3 or 4 hours a day working through our possessions, touching and deciding the fate of each item, and then I am just too tired to continue.  I don't make good decisions when I am too tired.  After about 4 weeks of working through this, I am glad I have the luxury to spread it out over time and do it right.  I am very glad I am not facing a pending move with the deadline of a mover's truck at the end of the line.  Now there is a nightmare in the making.

If you are going through a similar stage in life - desiring "less is more" - then check out the blog Miss Minimalism.  Take the time to window shop through her site.  Pick and choose the topics that interest you.  See if it doesn't crystalize your thoughts about stuff ... and how you want to live with yours.

I am currently reading her book, The Joy of Less.  I have found that books on simplification and  minimalism run "hit or miss."  Sometimes it is just a rehash of what you logically already know or what you have read a bunch of times elsewhere.  And to be fair, learning to live more minimally only happens if you can consistently take the actions to make it so.  There is no substitute for changing behavior.  Just reading about it - isn't enough.  These are hard lessons I struggle with regularly.  I will say, however, this book is highly rated on Amazon and so far I would agree with those ratings.  I will report back when I finish the book.



11 comments:

  1. I like your idea of going through things and asking the questions you posted, about the objects. Good idea. I do follow most blogs of people who follow my blog so that is a lot of blogs, and I like the blog community so I won't cut back on following people.

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    1. I found the questions clarified things for me. I don't want to own things just to own them. I want them to serve a function or be something I just love. It was amazing how much stuff didn't fit into either category - and once it was gone - I never missed it.

      I had to slim down my blog subscriptions just because I found it would take an hour or more to read them all. I enjoy reading the blogs but if you still get behind after devoting so much time weekly, then you have to make some cuts. At one point in my blog subscription history, I had almost 500 unread posts. That happened when I skipped a week or so of reading. Way out of hand.

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  2. Your posts keep kicking me in the seat; one of these days I WILL follow suit!

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    1. When the time is right - and you have a need (mental, emotional or physical) - it will happen.

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  3. I will go check out this website. Sounds interesting. I just finished reading Marie Kondo's Japanese Art of tidying. Left me shaking my head at times. But I understand the main idea here.

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    1. Paula, I also read Marie Kondo's Japanese Art of Tidying. I was not as enthused about this book as many reviewers but I purchased it based on the big hype. It is ok, but it seemed similar to other books I read and it seemed to focus on the 'to-dos" and steps of de-cluttering and organization. Nothing really new there unless it was your first book on the topic. And I do think it drifted off into a Japanese cultural feel - which is very clean and simple - but which is not really my style. I understand your head shaking comment.

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  4. Decluttering is such a big job but my biggest problem is that my best half refuses to let me get rid of anything. He is so sentimental that he doesn't want to let anything gol

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    1. Oh, it is very hard to do this if your partner in life isn't on the same page. Thankfully, my husband and I feel the same way about decluttering. And now that he is legally blind, extra stuff is just something to trip over or knock over.

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  5. It took me six months to go through my one bedroom apartment four years ago. Every time I thought I was done I would find I was ready to let go of more and would start all over again.

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    1. Well, this townhouse is large by townhouse standards and it has tons of closets and storage spaces, so we were pretty much unaware of how much stuff we had. I think when I complete this first round of cleaning out, the second round will get down to the meaty stuff. I have had many rounds of cleaning out over the last 20 years with my revolving door residents. I started this recent process of decluttering last year when we did the hardwood floors and painting. The process continues to this day because we are hitting places that we never touched before. Once I have touched and sorted EVERYTHING - and I did the initial "easy" declutter which are no-brainers - the next round will be slower and require more careful assessment.

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  6. I need to get busy with "getting rid of stuff!"
    The four questions make for a perfect guideline!

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