Every day, for the past two weeks, one of us has driven the car to Goodwill.
We take things out of our full truck and put them in the donation station.
You know when you’re getting to know someone and you ask them about their hobbies?
One of my hobbies is precisely getting rid of stuff, filling a trunk, and bringing it to Goodwill. Listen, I know a good time. You should come hang out. I’ll show you how fulfilling it is to take that giant blue Ikea bag to a room and fill it up. Then, we’ll go to the nearest GW dropoff on our way to something actually fun.
So, imagine my surprise that my house has enough extra stuff (or as J.D. writes it, Stuff) to fill a truck every day for two weeks!
Marie Kondo says to make sure everything in your house sparks joy. My preferred quote about minimalism is this:
“If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
-William Morris, via WikiQuote
Basically, it gives everything in the house a purpose, and the question is easy: is this beautiful or useful? If the answer is yes, keep it. If no, ditch it.
And it goes for everything.
Clara loves books (bups, she calls them), but she does not need as many as she has. She certainly doesn’t need the books we’re sick of reading to her. So those go out.
We have those cube storage system things from Ikea. You know, the ones you put bins in when you’re hiding the clutter on your counters? We’re keeping the shelves, but ditching the bin parts, believing that we’ll be better served by implementing a system when we get down to Arizona.
Also, we’re not buying security envelopes from Costco ever again. Actually, we’re in a position where we probably don’t have to buy envelopes, period, ever again.
Anyway, it feels like we have a lot of stuff.
Too much stuff.
But we’ve moved, what, four times?
How do we accumulate stuff at this rate?
Can I blame the baby? The husband? The Stanley? Anyone?
But moving, again, helps connect us to our version of minimalism.
That’s the version that can’t have all-white furniture because lord knows, toddlers and dogs keep us from having nice things.
The version that has a different definition of beautiful and useful than yours (though both are valid).
The myriad benefits of minimalism
- There’s not as much to pack, unpack, physically move
- So we’ll get settled faster
- And we’re given an opportunity
- To replace things ONLY if we see a real need
By donating/selling so many of our things, there’s a (valid) concern that we’re going too far.
But “not enough stuff” is not now, nor has it ever been, our problem.
And we know we’re going to be in a situation where we’re buying some things.
And when we do replace things, we’ll be more conscious of what we’re buying.
To a lot of people, that means, “buy the most expensive thing you can get,” but that’s not quite what we mean (see comment above about the toddler and the dog).
All it means is let’s do what we can with what we have.
That goes for everywhere. The refrigerator, the pantry. Well-stocked is fine, so full we can’t tell what’s in there and we keep opening different jars of olives is another.
It’s really easy to let things go. I find that I don’t have an emotional attachment to things, which is helpful (though it does make me feel bad when we donate gifts). The experts say to thank the thing that is no longer serving you, because at one time, it did. “Thanks for doing your job, little laptop.”
I do have a bit of my depression-baby Grandma in me, with the pantry stuff. I understand the math. I get that it costs way more to move food (especially heavy food like oil) than it does to replace it. But it hurts my heart to throw food away.
Which is why I’m excited that my sister, my brother-in-law, and my dad are here, effectively shopping.
Whatever they don’t want, Tony and Corey will get to see if they want.
That helps ease the sting. Giving stuff away beats throwing stuff out ANY day.
It’s the difference between being generous and wasteful.
I know our house doesn’t look like it belongs to minimalists. But just wait. The new house is bigger, and it’s not getting filled with things. It’s just not.
We’ll have space for dance parties in the garage!
Space to play. Space to spread out.
Space to swim.