I don’t want to buy for fashion. I’m not talking just clothes − water bottles, dishes, kitchen appliances, office supplies, notebooks. When a new sleek double-walled water bottle that keeps water cool down to 20o comes out, I don’t need it. My plastic YMCA water bottle still does what I need it to do. It holds water. I also happen to prefer my water lukewarm.
Things don’t make life better or make us happier. Getting a newer version of what I already own doesn’t increase my happiness or ease any perceived burden by enough degrees to warrant the expense. They are just tools. We make life better and we make our own happiness.
I had so many things, some days I thought about throwing them all away. They crowded my physical and mental space. Every time I looked at them, I thought about how they are not serving me. How they were drowning me. How I couldn’t think about writing a poem because I had a pile of dishes in my sink or piles of laundry (half of which I didn’t wear often).
In June, I had a garage sale and eliminated 40-50% of the items I own. What wasn’t sold was donated to the Boys and Girls Club. That was really the gamechanger. I had officially minimized my things and now I could focus on how I wanted to live in this new space. I rearranged some furniture to increase the spaciousness. I reorganized the items I still have to make them easier to use, clean, and store. It was like moving into a new apartment. Some of the best moments that have come out of this are:
It takes less than half the time to find an outfit and get dressed.
You know all of those clothes that you have that you haven’t worn because you don’t have anything to pair it with, that you are telling yourself you’ll wear when you lose 10 pounds, that you haven’t worn in years but its in great condition, that looked good on the rack but when you tried it on at home it made you feel bad….I got rid of them. When I look in my closet, I don’t feel unhappiness, shame, guilt, or not good enough. I have all of my favorites and I look forward to wearing them all. I just pick an outfit, lay it on the bed, and get dressed after my shower.
Less time and money spent on doing laundry.
With less clothes, there are less resources spent on maintaining them. I can do smaller loads more often and wear my favorites more. I spend less money on electricity running my washer for multiple large loads. I don’t end up running a load multiple times because I hated hanging laundry and forgot about it in the washer for hours.
Cleaning is relaxing.
With less things, I have less things on the floor because they all have a home now and can fit into my existing furniture. Putting things away takes a fraction of the time and vacuuming and sweeping is a breeze.
I don’t have significantly less dishes than before. I kept most of them. What happened is that the rest of my house became easier to clean and the tasks that used to take the most time and the most energy, I now have time and energy for and seem small compared to before.
I no longer dread cleaning and maintenance and actually do a little bit everyday like, putting away clothes that I’ve worn, wiping down counters, making my bed, washing dishes, sweeping, filling the water filter.
For me, there have been no negatives. I love my new space. I love how I have more options. I love the light feeling I get whenever I am there. Rather than bring happiness, this process has removed stress and burden.
Now that my possessions are under control, I have put more effort and time into continuing the journey to minimize my use of technology to increase time and space for more important things in my life; and to minimize the way I do things to increase productivity and decrease double-work. I look forward to sharing that once I’m done.