Dan and I are one week in to clearing out all of our 'unnecessaries'. This is basically our permanent version of a spring cleaning. I spent last week talking about how we have too much "stuff" and how it is getting in the way of enjoying what truly matters. We are spending 30 days progressively getting rid of more items each day, tracking what we can, and sharing it with you.
Here is our week 1 update.
It has been quite easy getting rid of items. As expected though, it was hard to find measures to take data on, in terms of the benefits of getting rid of all this stuff. We do, however, have a graph of the items we have "gotten rid of" and the new items purchased. (We haven't actually purchased any new items, so nothing to see for that.)
While I could not find a good data collection system for this first week, what I did find was a clearer understanding of what exactly we are doing. When we started this, I just thought it would be a fun experiment. There wasn't much research that went into it, and we weren't sure what benefits we might see.
I have, in passing, heard of people finding various benefits from living off of less. There is the tiny houses movement as well as various communes across the country. These are both a little too extreme for us, but sizing down our belongings seemed like a reasonable alternative - plus it makes it much easier to pick up and leave when I finally convince Dan to travel the world for a few years.
(Shh, don't spill to him. We'll see if he actually reads this and figures me out :) )
So for this week's recap, here are the typical themes that have been prominent in this process so far.
"What if I want it in 15 years?"
There is this moment I often go through as I am holding an item in my hands, deciding whether or not I should get rid of it. I teeter back and forth. - Just get rid of it. You never use it or even look at it. Then I think, "But what if my hypothetical future child wants to see this some day? What if they are curious about my past?" Usually my logical side eventually wins and I realize that I am holding a 14-year-old, crappy, cotton, grass and sweat-stained t-shirt that no kid would ever care to see, and I decide to part ways.
That post-decision feeling.
I have 100% of the time known that it was a positive decision to get rid of the item, so far. As soon as I decide, this is going, and I set the item in the pile to leave my house, I can actually feel stress leaving my body. It is fantastic. It's as if you don't realize the stress of "hording" these items until the stress is gone.
"Make sure you ACTUALLY get it out!"
So I have a confession to make. I have piles of items that I plan on getting out of the house in the next 30 days, but no items have actually left the house yet.
We (really do, I swear) have a good reason for this though - we don't want to trash anything if we don't have to. So I am placing each item on a hierarchy of leaving. First comes Craigslist, if appropriate. Then comes donating to charities, friends, or whoever will take it. On this note, if you know of places near Sacramento, that will take any of the items we have posted so far, please comment to let us know! There must be creative people that take old items like ours and turn them into new items - especially with all of the artists in Sacramento. Then last on the hierarchy is trashing the items, but again, we are trying to avoid that.
Even though these items are still in the house, when I look at all of it, it just reminds me that this is all stuff that we are in the process of getting rid of. So even though it is making our house look like a disaster at the moment, it still feels great. I just have to keep telling myself to, "Make sure you ACTUALLY get it out!"
What I have come to realize in this first week is that this whole minimalism thing is not necessarily about the number of items you own or the square-footage of your home. Rather, it is about de-cluttering your life of items that only STRESS YOU OUT. I have constantly been surprised at how many items in my house, I can easily discard, because they give me no joy. I am more than happy to be rid of these items.
However, there are also plenty of items that I would clutch on to for dear life, if someone tried to take them from me - like our road bikes, the tandem bike, or our backpacking gear.
Makes sense though, right? These are very practical items.
...then there are the not-so-practical items that I am just as attached to, like this ratty old t-shirt:
Yes, it is 20-years-old. Yes, it really is from Space Camp. And yes, I still wear it proudly.
But this is the whole point. If something brings you joy, by all means keep it. Just think honestly about whether the items you are holding on to, you are holding on just in case you want it again someday or because it actually makes you happy.
Keep following the 30 days of #MoreThanJustTime on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as we try out this new Self Management Project. And since today is day 8 - goodbye to these 8 hats.