Going Minimal!

One thing’s for sure: if I manage to travel abroad, no matter where I end up I can’t take all my stuff with me.

Well, I could, but those would be some ridiculous expenses for checked baggage and shipping.

So I’m starting the experiment now.  Or maybe just continuing my experiment from when I was twelve.

I took inspiration from Art of Solo Travel author Stephanie Lee – whose blog address I seem to have misplaced!  Anyway, with the exception of the bed, she can move with just one car trip.  Seeing how much I HATE moving my stuff, I loved the sound of that.

Here’s my home as it looks today:

Had to wait for a weekend to photograph it since during the week I’m only home when it’s dark – which makes for poor photos, and I don’t want y’all to think I’m living in a cave.

Behold, my bedroom!  Ain’t it chic?  I’m sure it’ll be gracing the cover of interior design mags soon.  That desk’s a built in so I had no choice but to keep it.  But my boxspring and bedframe have been banished to the bedroom while I make due with a mattress, one set of sheets, and two blankets.  So far, I’m liking it.

Behold, my office / den / living room!  I think it would have been interesting to be without a couch, but that bugger can’t go anywhere.  I barely got it through the skinny door of my 1950s apartment building.  The only art I chose to leave on the wall: a photo of the two people I was named after, my grandmother and great grandfather.

Behold, the entertainment room!  TV and DVD player stayed along with my MP3 player / charger.  But why not put them on the floor?  Less to dust, and I’m a sit-on-the-floor person anyway.

And finally, the library.  I’m rediscovering the joys of library books.  So I only kept four of my books out and packed the rest away.  Everything else is coming from the library.

Where’s everything else?  Well, this transitioning-to-minimalism thing is a work in progress so I will honestly disclose that just out of frame in the photo above is this:

My poor, cluttered entryway where I store my bags (backpacks, camel back, reusable grocery bags), shoes and boots (which I honestly don’t have many of), outdoor gear (climbing and hiking shoes, helmet, scarves and gloves), and cleaning supplies (there’s a vacuum in the corner there).   Oh and hats, obviously.

Everything else is jammed in to the bedroom:

One rule I made for myself was that my art supplies MUST still be accessible.  And I have pulled them out several times.  And then put them back.

Also, in case you were wondering, I took only the clothes that were already in the dirty hamper – meaning I DO wear them – and moved them to the living room closet.  So my sparse closet was pared down even further.

The whole packing-stuff-away process was very enlightening.

“I used this stapler a lot when I was in school.  Now, not so much.  But on occasion I DO need it and it’s nice to have one.”

“This little teapot that was given to me as a Christmas present is pretty and it’s displayed nicely among my books, but it’s never been used.”

“Hmm, a half-empty container of zip ties that I’ve held onto.  Sometimes you need one.  But rarely.  But I feel bad about throwing them away.  Fine, into the trash.”

(A very unfortunate side-effect of living in a very “green” town is that I have guilt about throwing ANYTHING away.  I feel the need to keep it, recycle it, or find another owner.  And since the latter two take a lot of effort I end up doing the first.)

More than once I groaned to myself, “Why do I have so much STUFF?”

I can definitely see the benefits of minimalism.  I like coming home to a place that’s clean – because there’s almost no way to make it messy.  Choosing my clothes in the morning is simple when you don’t have any.  Oh, and I can do almost all my laundry in one load – woohoo for saving quarters!

I also like being less consumeristic.  I walked into Target last week to purchase replacement shoes and my immediate thought was, “Look at all the STUFF!”  And I had (almost) no desire to buy any of it as I didn’t need it.

But I’m not sure I could become one of those less-than-100-things minimalists you see out there in the blog world.  I think minimalism hampers hobbies.  I like to make art.  So I need (and use) my sewing machine, numerous spools of thread, pins, paint, brushes, etc.  I’m also a mountain girl who likes the outdoors.  So I have a sleeping bag, camelback, hiking shoes, climbing shoes, etc.

It’s a fine line between owning and borrowing.  Do I need a crescent wrench every day?  No, but when I do it’s good to know I have one.  How about a vacuum?  Or printer?  Do I need to choose between a dress coat or outdoorsy/waterproof coat?  And what about cold weather versus hot weather?

There’s definitely a lot of stuff I CAN get rid of, though.  And I probably will, though not quite yet.  I’m trying to stay out of the bedroom as much as possible, but in this transition it’s good to know stuff is there if I realize I DO use this more often than I’ve thought.

Though I’ve also been good about trying to pretend it’s not there and not at my disposal.  Like the morning I thought, “My black leather jacket would be the perfect compromise between my summer jacket and winter coat for this weather,” but forced myself to leave it on the hanger and pretend I had to make do.

Anyway, to sum up: I’m liking this experiment and plan to try to minimalize my kitchen soon.  (Thanks to Amy for the continued inspiration.)

I’d like to hear what you think, though.  Minimalism: good or bad?  What impedes you from taking the plunge?  Would it work or not work with your lifestyle?

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One Response to Going Minimal!

  1. Pingback: Here we are now. Entertain us! « The Big "What If…?"

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