Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sliding towards less

While I am not qualified to speak on the topic of minimalism,  it does feel like I am slipping towards a "less" style of living. Setting aside the downsizing efforts needed to move, getting less stuff off my radar always makes me feel better.  I've done this many times, but not so drastically as this time.

For the most part, I can't remember the bulk of what I have carried out the door.  Obviously if I can't remember that mountain of stuff, it was not important.  It was taking up space in my world and robbing my attention and energy.

But the remembered list of discarded things is considerable AND remarkable for many reasons.  It totally astounds me how much we held onto - long beyond our interest in them.  Passions from 20 or 30 years ago that we lost interest in and just boxed away.  Hobbies and past times my husband could no longer enjoy because he could not see.  Sentimental items that lingered because we could not let go of the emotion attached to them.  Valuable items we never touched much less saw for years and years.

Here is a brain dump of the remembered stuff that is living with new owners.
  • Doll house and all the doll house furniture - this all went back to the original owner, my daughter and pictures of that lovely hobby were featured here. It is the one thing if she simply didn't want it any more, I would take back.
  • Stamp Collection -  valued at over $80,000 at one time.
  • Huge board game collection
  • Vast library of books - near a thousand at one point when my husband could read
  • Miniature hand painted soldiers - over 300 miniatures, many were museum quality
  • Themed chess sets - 10 or 11 in all
  • German imported nut crackers - 22 in all
  • Furniture - 2 chests of drawers, 2 benches, a full size freezer, 2 desks, a head board - that was just in the last 3 months - many more pieces in the last year.
  • Kitchen stuff - mugs, good china, Kitchen aide food processor, about 40 cookbooks (a ridiculous number for a person who doesn't want or like to cook) 
  • Crafts - spinning wheel, yarn, about 25 books, yarn
  • My work clothes are gone, boxes and boxes of shoes are gone - mostly because my sad old feet can wear only about 3 pairs without pain.
That list makes me a little breathless.  The money we spent.  Yes, we did get enjoyment at the time but really ... the space and energy it subtracted from our lives over years exceeds the balance of enjoyment we got for a short time.  Too bad I can't send a message back to my younger self and say "STOP!  You won't really care about this stuff for most of your life!"  

Well ... I still care about that doll house and my yarn, but everything else, not so much.

And still stuff remains .... photo albums and pictures I will keep because they spark precious memories.  I still have a lot of clothes.  Guess I will need to check out condition and size.  Our pantry is shrinking ... the thought crossed my mind more than once over the years that I may be a food hoarder.  At least all the expired foods are gone :-) and I check the pantry before I shop.  Ha!  There is a roughed in closet with storage items (Christmas, lamps, picture frames, ladder, shovels, etc) that has yet to be explored.  I bet I have weed killer from 1999.  And my yarn room.  *sigh* I have given away some yarn to various folks and about half my pattern books.  I could still knit until I was 97 without buying even one skein of yarn and never run out.  Here there is no doubt ...  I am a card carrying hoarder of yarn.  I think I will happily hold on to that title until I take my last breath.

Interestingly enough, ongoing stuff reduction seems to have unintentionally spilled over into other areas of my life.

For example:
I have long since given up a wide array of cosmetics, perfumes and lotions.  My approach to personal appearance is simple - this is me, the way God made me and life changed me.  My gray hair and wrinkles have been well earned. I wouldn't think of hiding them.  I am happy with myself the way I am.  All I really need is a blow drier and hair brush, moisturizer, lip gloss, a splash of blush, enough sleep to keep the circles from my eyes and a smile!  I hope all that counts as graceful aging instead of laziness.  Ha.

I have never been a big jewelry person but I did have a few pieces that were special.  I gave away some to family, kept a few, but only wear my wedding ring now.  I don't even wear earings in my pierced ear lobes.  My, how times have changed.

My personal schedule is much reduced.  I used to enjoy many social obligations and organized groups that used my talents.  I don't get the energy or enjoyment I used to from that busy schedule.  Now I limit myself to fewer external ongoing commitments and look forward them more because they are not squeezed into an over committed calendar.  I am happy with my own company, my family and close friends.  I don't seek out more just because I have time for more.

Sliding towards less ...  
a good thing.

7 comments:

  1. This was an interesting reflection to read. Thanks for sharing it. I like your approach to personal appearance, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The personal appearance change was a slow evolution after I quit work. It didn't happen over night.

      Delete
  2. I have become very much like this myself. But I have yet to start chipping away at the horde. I no longer color my hair or wear make up or earrings in my pierced ears. Funny how easy that was to let go of while Richard was ill. I used to have to be completely made up just to go to the grocery store. I really need to get started on clearing stuff out!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Getting started is the hardest. Once you get going, it gets easier and the positive feedback I got from clearing out even one little area inspired me to continue to the next area. It just hard to get started because the job seems to big at the beginning.

      Delete
  3. Opps! Just added the link for the doll house I referenced in this post. It wasn't in the first version.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So true! As time goes on, we find that there is so much we can live without and it feels good to let go and simplify our lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Dr. Kathy ... you summed up my entire post in one sentence! Excellent!

      Delete

Yes, you do want to comment! I can see it in your face:-)