Minimalism

Six months into decluttering

As it is July, it has been at least six months since I started to declutter things. I thought I’d do a short blog about what I have now and where the decluttering goes from here.

The first thing I went through was my clothing. I have definitely trimmed a lot there. I now have two capsules –  a warm and a cool weather one. The warm weather one is bigger, mostly because the cool weather one was full of stuff I didn’t really like or had worn out. So as we come to cool weather again, I’ll be creating a solid wardrobe of things that I love. My warm weather capsule has 4 pairs of shorts, four t shirts, and four tank tops. I also have a pair of capris. My cool weather capsule has three pairs of jeans (they are three different sizes and I will assess in cool weather what fits the best and probably go down to two pairs) and three pairs of nicer pants. I may get rid of one pair that I’m not really happy with. I have three sweaters and two long sleeved tees. I need a few more of the long sleeved shirts since it’s not always sweater weather. I have gotten my shoes trimmed and again, may trim more but currently have a pair of converse, a pair of tan heels, a pair of black flats and a pair of tan flats. There are two pairs of boots (again, one more cold weather and the other for the in between weather). I have workout clothes and running sneakers for working out but that belongs to neither capsule.

I cleaned out a lot of bathroom products. All my makeup fits into one bag with the exception of six eyeshadows (the only ones I own). They can go in the bag but it’s tight and so I don’t have them living in there. I would like to trim that some more but so far I haven’t been able to. All of my hair stuff and the one bath bomb I have fits into a small drawer set that’s under the sink. Everything else is in the bathroom cabinet and the sink is cleared off. There was a lot of stuff on there once so I am very proud of how neat that looks.

I am still working on the food situation and making sure that the food gets eaten and not stockpiled. Progress is being made though. I also got rid of a lot of extra unused kitchen goodies. I can find everything now and even have empty cabinets in the kitchen. It’s a pretty joyous thing. I do need a mini muffin tin but I never had one of those, so it’s not like I got rid of one. Under the kitchen sink is also cleaned out and most of the stuff that had accumulated is in a place with other like things (I have one box of cleaning supplies) or it’s gone. There was a lot of old paint. The front bathroom has also been cleaned out and the closet space is neat.

There are fewer bookcases and most of them have empty space now. I’m still working on making what I have neat but it’s a process. Every time I go to one of them I get stuck trying to figure out how to consolidate but since they all hold different sizes, It’s hard.

At this point, I have some goals that would help organize better. One is to redo the closet organizing system. What is in there is just the wire racks that came with the house. I’d like to remove that and install a drawer system. It would be better way to store things and would likely mean the dresser could go away. The bottom shelf/rack doesn’t have anything on it, so it’s wasted and I think would look nicer with drawer systems in place. Getting rid of the dresser would also open up a lot of floor space in the bedroom, which would be helpful. I’d also like to figure out how to get all of the bookcases consolidated. Since I don’t know yet how to best do that, it’s on hold.

I would also like to get a stackable washer/dryer and change the laundry closet so that there is shelving on one side… or maybe open the kitchen up some more? That project involves moving a wall though, so it’s a long term thing. I also need to paint, especially in the living room area and put baseboard down (it’s been without for a long, long time now…) and fix the holes that are in one of the walls. It’s patched but it looks… bad. The living room needs work. I need to work on my drywalling skills. I don’t think that’s going to happen in the short term. One thing at a time right?

I’ll decide where to start eventually. It’s all part of the process. I am moving forward. I definitely feel less stressed with less stuff. Everything stays cleaner because I don’t have a million random things floating around with no real home. It’s easier to clean because I don’t have to spend an hour putting things away or looking for a place to put things because it’s already away. That alone makes life less stressful. Every time I get something else the way it should be, I feel a sense of relief and completion, as though it’s one less thing to worry about. That’s a good thing. I have also been able to see more clearly what needs to be done to get everything cleaned up. The house is messy and over the past several years we’ve discovered all kinds of issues and made holes that need to be fixed as we rearranged outlets. We also have found things that just weren’t done well when the house was built. The front door needs to be replaced as do the windows, which will help with energy costs. Little things that we need to do that add up to big projects none of which I could see well when I was constantly picking things up and putting them down but never making progress. I hope that makes sense?

Anyway, I’ll leave this here for now. I spent my morning doing nothing – relaxing some and letting all the pressure float away. Tomorrow, I’ll start work on whatever project is next. Three weeks… let’s see what can be done in three weeks.

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Life, Minimalism

Minimalism/declutter update

It’s been awhile since I updated about the declutter effort in my house. This is in large part because there isn’t as much stuff and therefore there is less to declutter. I am still working on the process though and trying to refine it. As I move into my new bullet journal, I have to redo some spreads. One of those spreads is my wardrobe spread. So I created two lists on the new page: a warm capsule and a cool capsule. There aren’t really four seasons here, so it seemed easier this way. I found some issues as I was working on that and it tells me that I still have some things to work on.

For example, I own five white tank tops. They all look a little different but honestly, I don’t need five white tank tops. I don’t even like the white that much. So, I can get rid of at least three, probably four. I also realized that I have some t-shirts that I kept but I really don’t like them because I don’t wear them. So a few more t-shirts are going as well. I have four pairs of shorts and that seems good to me. Once I get rid of some of the shirts, I will have six tanks and five t-shirts. Again, this seems good to me.

I also realized that I only own one long sleeved shirt. I love it but I need more than that. So once cool weather clothes are out again, I will have to acquire probably 2 long sleeve shirts. I have three sweaters and a cardigan. I’m separating that because the cardigan isn’t a sweater I would wear alone, obviously. I own two pairs of jeans but the size eight may be to big come cooler weather, so I may need to replace the eight with another six or possibly a four, depending. I have a couple of pairs of dress pants and two pairs of leggings. I have nothing to wear with the leggings though, so that’s problematic.

I may also get rid of some shoes. I have a pair of Sperry’s that I almost never wear. I’m going to wait and see what happens come fall though before I decide. Mostly, the shoe situation is good.

I have a bookcase that is empty sitting in my dining room. I don’t know what to do about that. I don’t want to get rid of it yet because I feel like it could be used someplace but I don’t know where right now. I had the large cabinet in my dining room that I turned into storage in my daughter’s room. I consolidated all of her stuff into that closet, which is great and also put chalkboard paint on the doors, so it serves two purposes. It also allowed us to rearrange her room, which is a bonus.

I can always go through my books again but I don’t have many left and several are books that I still want to read because I haven’t yet. Of course, nursing school means that I have almost no time for reading, so it may be awhile before I get to them. I need to create a list in my bullet journal so that I can keep a running list of what I still want to read but don’t own. I have decided to not buy anymore books until I read what I have. I’ve started utilizing the library more too, which is better for my wallet.

As a side note, I have started a Day Zero Project account and I will talk about that soon. If you don’t know what that is, I’ll explain it all in another post. I also need to talk about my running journey soon, so keep an eye out for that. I’m back at it and trying to stick with it. I still have a marathon on my bucket list and I feel like it’s attainable if I stay on track. So that’s it for now lovely people. I’ll be back tomorrow with more good stuff (like vacations!). Until then, love to you all!

Life, Minimalism

Maintaining minimalism

That title is a mouthful, for sure. It is nearly June and therefore, almost six months since I began this journey of decluttering in earnest. In that time, I have gotten rid of a LOT of stuff. I’ve made numerous trips to various donation places and thrown away all kinds of garbage. I’ve eliminated dozens of storage boxes and found room in my house that I didn’t know was there. There are still places to work on but now I’m working in small pieces instead of huge chunks. The things I get rid of are things that are simply not getting used like I thought they were. I am better able to see that now that there is space and I can see all of my things. There are projects that I want to undertake in my house to make storage spaces that fit my things without it turning into places to accumulate things. It is a process and I keep working at it everyday.

Now, however, the bigger task is maintaining the minimalism. Keeping the clutter from reacquiring. That task is more daunting than you would think, somehow. I have set the goal of not spending every week for a month. I keep failing at making it through a whole week. It may be that I need to redefine how I am categorizing things but I don’t want to make excuses for purchases that I make. So I am trying to figure out what’s going on here. I don’t need more things. I feel like I’ve done a good job not getting things for me (although, I will admit to buying a t-shirt today that I adore and can’t wait until I get it in my possession). This is not to say I haven’t bought anything for me – I have bought journaling supplies. A greatly reduced number for sure though.

So my victories: I haven’t bought any new makeup. I bought a blush and a mascara to replace ones that I used up which was fair. I haven’t bought any more art supplies (I am separating this from journal supplies because I mean my actual art supplies – paint and colored pencils, etc). I haven’t bought any physical movies (although, I have bought several episodes of CHiPs on Amazon as I finish episodes). I also haven’t bought any more books although I’ve seen several that I want to read. Those were my main source of spending before, so I am proud of what I have managed to do there.

My failures: Journal supplies. I bought some stickers. I don’t need more stickers. I bought some anyway. I also bought some washi tape, which I also didn’t need. I tend to buy my kids stuff a lot. This is partially because they ask for stuff constantly but I don’t need to give in as often as I do. I am working on this. In a semi-failure vein, I have bought some nicer things to replace older things. This would include a couple of bras, some pants (also because I lost so much weight the ones I had didn’t fit anymore) and a pair of sneakers. These are things that I didn’t necessarily need to have right now but did need to be replaced because they were really old. My sneakers are especially important because I run and it’s harder on your body to run in old shoes. I did buy the new ones on clearance (I almost always do though) so it wasn’t an incredibly pricey purchase.

I know it’s progress. Before I would have been stuffing things into boxes and then getting more boxes to make everything fit. Now, I’m working with the space I have. I am not getting any more boxes because I don’t need more. I need less things. This is an important distinction. I am also trying to work on food. I keep ending up with to much stuff in the pantry. I’m trying to find the line between enough and to much. This is a trickier balance than I anticipated and I’m working on it. Every week I get a little better at it. I’m also better with it when I a) menu plan (even when my planning sometimes fails) and b) sticking to my list. I’ve gotten a little lax about the list lately. I am going to rededicate myself to it.

And now, I am going to study a little more. I have my first test tomorrow. I am doing well with this material (I think) but I also have my daughter’s Girl Scout bridging tonight, so I have less time to study. Until tomorrow, party on! 😉

Healthy Eating, Life, Minimalism, Nursing School

Where vacation begins

I guess if you can call a week and a half off from school a vacation, that’s where I am right now. I took my final exam for this class on Tuesday and then on Wednesday, I watched the seniors get pinned. It was quite a moment. Mostly because in 12 months, that will be me. Assuming I make it through the next eight weeks of summer and then the sixteen weeks of fall and then another 16 weeks of spring. Although, written like that it doesn’t sound like as much as it feels like.

So today, I spent the day working out. Or at least the morning. I did a leg workout and then went to a vinyasa class and by the time I was home it was 11:00. So I washed the morning dishes, took the clothes in from the clothesline and then hopped in the shower. Then I went grocery shopping. I bought way to much food, I think but I’m hoping that it will last through the weekend. My kids can eat an entire grocery trip in two days – but only the junk and then they complain there’s nothing to eat. Apparently fruit is not an acceptable alternative. Currently, the dinner dishes are sitting in the sink but I needed to take a moment. I also am almost finished with scholarship applications for the next school year. Hopefully, I’ll get a good chunk paid for. I applied for a forgivable loan option but have heard nothing from that and there’s no timeline for how long that will take. I’m good with either option. Summer will be paid for by work, which means I’ll get the $500 I put out a couple weeks ago back after classes end. I checked grades earlier and saw two A’s for this semester and was infinitely thankful. I have six classes left.

Tomorrow is a day for food prep. I’m hoping to be able to make sure everything I need for meals for the next few weeks will be ready to go, or at least make my life as easy as possible. I have prep work to do and I’m planning on making some spaghetti sauce from scratch. I’m slowly working on improving my food sources. As I do that, the amount of money I spend on food will hopefully go down. I mean, making sauce from scratch will yield a couple of jars worth at least (we’ll find out exactly how much tomorrow) and then I won’t need to buy sauce for awhile. Considering how little crushed tomatoes cost and the fact that I have most of the other ingredients (like garlic and onion) already on hand, I’m excited to see how much this ends up costing.

I watched the season finale of Criminal Minds this afternoon as I was working on my planner and I was shocked with how that ended. I know they’re already renewed for next season but that was a heck of a cliffhanger. Excellent writing, IMO. But I won’t spoil anything, just in case.

Monday is going to be a day to shadow in the pediatric unit at my hospital, which I hope will be a great experience. It will at least give me some insight into the unit and whether I want to keep pursuing this path or if I want to make a small turn. The rest of next week is going to be devoted to fitness. I mean, I can’t really work ahead with fitness. You just have to deal with it as it comes and find time each week to get stuff done but I can devote time when I have it and that’s what I plan to do. I’m hoping to get another couple of pounds off in the next week or two. These last ten pounds or so are going to be a beast to get off, I’m sure but I’m working on it and hopefully as I build muscle, it will get easier to get the pounds to come off.

I also have to start looking at when I’m moving into my new bullet journal. I have the new one, although I haven’t opened it yet. I think I can get through June in the one I have which would mean the new one would start in July. That means I need to start looking at what spreads are moving to the new journal and what is being abandoned. I think I like the weeklies the way I’ve been doing them and the monthly is ok. I don’t know if I want to keep it the way it is or make some changes though. The pages may need some tweaking. I keep changing what I’m including in the monthly and what goes to the weekly. I’d like to have a definite idea by the time I get to the new journal. I also need to look and see how June ends and July begins so I know whether the end of June will be in the new journal or the old one. There’s no way I can get all of July in the old journal – I’ve only got about 75 pages left and with half of May and all of June that will leave maybe a page or two. We’ll see how that goes though.

I haven’t done any minimalism declutters recently. I’m mostly just monitoring what I have to see if I do actually use it or if it’s time for me to part ways with some things. This part of the process is taking some time though and I know that according to Kondo, all of that is supposed to be done at once but honestly, I never had time to pull an entire category of stuff at once and likely never will. So for now, I’m monitoring and making adjustments. I’ve had to buy a few things and I’ve actually been doing very badly with my no spending pact. I need to work on that again. It seems like the universe plots against me though and I end up having to go to the store even when it’s not a grocery day and then I end up getting a bunch of stuff instead of consolidating everything to shopping on just one day, which is better financially. We also had to put freon in the air conditioner and, of course, it was crazy expensive because when they built our house they did everything as cheap as possible. That means that the air conditioner unit is an older model that was probably on clearance at the time and uses older freon which is, of course, way more expensive. The leak is fixed now and the freon is full so hopefully it stays that way for awhile. I also think the house needs more insulation but I haven’t figured out how to fix that yet.

I’m going to stop here for now because I could probably write all night and there are things that need to get done before bed. So for now, I’ll leave you with a good night and until next time!

Minimalism

How did I get to minimalism (or the great purge)

As I sat here looking around, I felt a kind of relief and then a little annoyance that there was some mess on the table. So I cleaned it all up. In 5 minutes. No joke. A task that used to take me 30 minutes to sort and clean took 5 minutes. Marie Kondo would say it’s because my stuff has a place. This is partially true. Most of my stuff has a place and if it’s not mine then it’s probably a child’s. It goes in their room and I try not to think about it to much. That’s one of Marie Kondo’s things too – you can’t force other people into this. They have to come to it on their own. If they have no interest in it, they’ll simply reaquire stuff and be back where they started. So, I try not to look to hard at other people’s stuff. But I am still amazed at all the progress I’ve made so far.

Getting here was a task all on its own though. I mean, I’m 40 years old and I had stuff in my house from when I was 16 years old. It’s moved numerous times and was still buried in a storage box somewhere because it was “sentimental”. Most of that stuff is gone. Actually, with the exception of some pictures, it’s all gone. I didn’t want it, I didn’t need it. I was keeping it out of some sense that it “meant something” to me but for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what. I still don’t know what I was keeping it for but it doesn’t matter anymore because it’s gone. It’s wonderful.

That sounds weird to most people. Heck, a couple of years ago I’d have thought that it sounds weird. This purging of stuff to get down to what you truly love is a strange thing. Another blogger described it as a sickness and in a way it kind of is. You have this odd feeling that you have to get rid of stuff and you can literally walk through your house and start seeing things everywhere that can get tossed (or donated). It’s all you think about sometimes. As I’ve reduced the amount of stuff, the feelings have decreased and I feel less of an urge to declutter. I still have my moments though. I’ll find myself wandering through the house looking at things and thinking about if I still want them in my life. Often the answer is yes but occasionally I still get a no. Marie Kondo promises that you do get to a point where you no longer feel the urge to do this. Of course, she also does her “tidying” in these marathon sessions where you do everything at once. I’m moving at a slower pace and I’m not doing this exactly the way she does since that would make a giant mess that I can’t deal with. But the overall theme is the same and it’s still working for me.

The most useful thing for me is that I feel less anxious about things. There is less mess and thus less to worry about cleaning up. Actually, when I stay on top of it and do my daily cleaning like I’m supposed to, there’s no mess at all. If I let it go for a few days, I get small piles of stuff forming but since I know where everything goes, it gets put away quickly. I feel as though if other people could feel this same feeling they’d get it. They would understand why that desire to toss things is so strong and have that same feeling of relief when looking around at a space that is clean and full of things that are joyful. I used to look at those hoarder memes and think to myself “At least my house doesn’t look like that!”. Now I look at those memes and think to myself “They just need to declutter a little and those problems will go away.” I used to think storage boxes were the answer. Now I realize that I don’t need that many (and have gotten rid of a lot!). I used to wonder how people could live in a house that was only 500 square feet. Now I can see how it could be done. I would have to declutter a lot more before it could happen but it could happen. That’s not a plan of mine, by the way.

There’s something to be said for this way of life. After all, life’s not about stuff. Keeping up with everybody else isn’t the goal and ultimately, there’s always somebody who has more money, and thus more stuff, than you. Also, those people are rarely as happy as they seem. Finding out what really makes you happy and getting rid of all the extra stuff makes life better. There’s less cleaning to do and the things that you love shine through. I think that’s the best part because life should be about what we love. Until next time!

Minimalism

Minimalism in action? (the kitchen)

I feel as though I’ve hit that point in the decluttering. The one where what you have is enough and you don’t need any more  nor do you want to get rid of anything else. Part of feeling this way is having gotten rid of things that take up space but don’t work. Today, that moment happened in the kitchen when the dishwasher got tossed. The dishwasher hasn’t worked in… 5 years maybe? We’ve been getting along without it since then and if that’s true then we don’t need a new one. However, the old one was taking up space. I don’t have the time or the money to redo the whole kitchen but I wanted that space. So when a friend mentioned that a hardware store had cabinets on sale, I went to see if I could  match the color and find a cabinet that would fit in the space.

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Ok, so the color doesn’t match. However, the important thing is that it’s now useable space! I didn’t clean up the kitchen before taking these, so you will see some things out. I know that in Marie Kondo’s book, she says things shouldn’t be out on the counter. Honestly? That’s impractical. I’d spend all day putting things away. Also, the coffee maker and the other things out are used every day or often enough that I don’t feel bad leaving them out. Moving on, the cabinet, contains my cookbooks now.

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Pardon the lighting.I will mention, that the binders are all paperwork. The pink one contains everyone’s important documents (birth certificates, social security cards, etc). The blue one is for my nursing program. It has any document that they could ask to see, an old resume that I need to update and a few other documents directly related to nursing school. The shelf has cords for cameras and the pencil sharpener. All of that stuff came out of a large cabinet that is in the dining room. All that’s left in that cabinet is my nursing books and a shoebox with extra pencils and highlighters, my calculator and some post it notes. Since we’re here, I thought I’d give you a tour of my kitchen. You’ll notice it’s on the small side so the decluttering has been a huge help in gaming the space more useable and functional.

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Under the sink, which used to be full. Now there’s only things directly relevant to the sink.

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This is the cabinet over the new cabinet. This is all of our coffee cups, regular cups, plates and bowls. This space will eventually get decluttered more once the kids are done with the kiddie bowls.

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Turn around and this is the other side of the kitchen. Yes, that’s all of it. The space to the left has the washer and dryer and a pantry closet. I didn’t include that here. Also, the cabinets over the microwave are empty. They used to be filled with things. Nothing up there got used because I could never reach, so to use something meant I had to climb up there and get it down. The things from that cabinet that I felt I needed have now been relocated to where I can reach. You’ll also notice that the top shelves in most of these cabinets has very little. Again, I can’t reach that stuff easily.

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My mixing bowls and measuring cups. Also, my tea pot with the matching cups. Honestly, it gets used very little however it does bring me real joy. I adore it. So it stays.

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This cabinet has my baking dishes, a popcorn bowl up top and some baking supplies.

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This drawer is still the worst. It’s my cooking utensils. I need a drawer divider or some paper to put in the bottom so stuff doesn’t move around. However, this drawer used to be packed and there was a canister on the counter. Now it’s just the things that I use all the time and no extra gadgets that collect dust.

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Other side of the oven is a set of three drawers. I just realized I forgot to take a picture of the cabinet on the right. It has all my pots and pans. Sorry about that. So back to this drawer. There’s a lot of silverware here. Honestly, it’s more than we use. I will declutter this eventually because I cringe every time I open this drawer. But for now, it’s acceptable.

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Next drawer. Pot holders, coffee, tea, salt and cooking stuff that I need quick access too. Under the potholes is actually part of the coffee maker. I could probably get rid of that too. Some of my larger mugs don’t fit in the space with that piece in, so I took it out. It’s never gone back which is probably a good indication that I don’t need it. I have been toying with the idea of a new coffee maker. For now though, what I have works fine. Maybe with a final kitchen clean out I’ll do that. For now, I’ll add that piece to the list of things that can go.

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The bottom drawer has kitchen towels and lunch making supplies. I may eliminate most of this if my kids continue to eat lunch at school. If they aren’t using this stuff then we don’t need it and when they have field trips, everything has to be disposable so I can’t use any of this. I do use my daughter’s lunch box for my lunches at work and I will use the plastic storage containers (they’re all in the lunch boxes, so you don’t see them – a thermos and three different sizes of lunch containers). So there’s still work to be done in the kitchen but it’s not urgent. We have space and nothing is coming in, which is great. I can find everything that I need quickly and things aren’t falling out of cabinets anymore. It’s been wonderful in the past couple months since I decluttered here.

So that’s where we are with this section of the house. I’ve made progress and will continue to make progress and refine what is needed and what is not. I’ve also been working on decluttering arts and crafts supplies and I may have finally gotten that down to the perfect place too. I’ll save that for another post though. For now, I’ll end with a smile and the knowledge that I am working toward an open, clean space that is filled with things that bring joy and serve a purpose. I will continue to modify those things and use the book as a guide but not a strict rule. Until tomorrow, lovely people!

Minimalism

The art of decluttering

Sounds kind of silly, right? I got 2/3 of the way through Marie Kondo’s book and I feel as though that’s her main point. In some ways, I see her point though. Decluttering looks different for every person and the things that I keep because they have value may not be the things that you see as valuable. So there is very much an art to it. However, it’s also not artistic in the way that we typically think of art. Either way, I’ve come to some conclusions about decluttering.

First, she believes that you need to start with clothing because it holds the least sentimental value for people. This is probably true for most people. I found decluttering the clothes to be the least difficult part. Shoes were a little tougher but still manageable. So, if you’re looking to declutter, I would start there. I’ve picked up some good tips on YouTube, such as get rid of socks with no match, clothes with holes and things that don’t fit first and then go from there. I don’t get real lovey with clothes, so the idea of thanking them is a bit much but it may work for you if you’re having trouble getting rid of things. I highly suggest her method of folding clothes though, because it really does save a lot of space.

Secondly, one of her big things is getting rid of papers. This confused me at first but now it makes total sense. Manuals for things? Toss them. Old credit card statements, bank statements, pay stubs? Toss them. In fact, aside from things like birth certificates, social security cards, titles or leases, you probably don’t need it. Honestly, when was the last time you used the manual for your oven? I need to go through stuff again and trim it more but currently, everything fits in a three ring binder with page protectors. Like I said, it needs more work but it’s a vast improvement from what it was before. If you have a filing cabinet, you probably don’t need it.

Next on my list was hobbies. Specifically, old hobbies that you still have materials for. I got rid of all of it. What was I keeping it for? Mostly because I paid for it. But I wasn’t using it and it was taking up space in my house, collecting dust and getting moved from storage container to storage container (sounds familiar?). I did keep some things but they were all things that I have used in the past year. It’s almost all art supplies with some bullet journal supplies and scrapbooking supplies thrown in. I keep going through things a little at a time to see if there’s anything else that can go but I think I’m getting close to a good number because I find less and less every time.

Then I went through my kitchen and cleaned out all the gadgets that I never use. I have also made food a part of this journey and am working hard at making sure that there’s no excess sitting in the closet for months. I used to pull half eaten packages out of the back of the pantry and sigh because it would have to be thrown away. Now, you can see everything and there’s no hiding things anywhere. This has the sad side effect of constant complaining that there’s nothing to eat in the house but that’s silly because there’s plenty of food. There’s just no piles of it to sort through anymore. It’s a little odd to see an almost empty pantry at first but I’ve gotten used to it and it’s made life easier. It also makes menu planning easier because I don’t have to guess about what ingredients I might or might not have. And things aren’t going bad which is even better.

Books and movies are also something that were a challenge to me. Again, I still have some work to do in this area but I have decreased numbers considerably and the house is much cleaner for it. I can dust very quickly and I can see what I have. One of the things she talks about in the book is how you get attached to the idea of a book – it’s more what it represents than the fact that you reread it. Because, really, why else would you keep a book? That makes sense when you really think about it but I kept tons of books I would never read again because I though I should. They look good on the shelf or some other such idea. There are people who get joy out of having books on their shelves just to look at. I really don’t though. I know that sounds odd but when I really thought about it, I kept the books because I thought it proved something about me. It doesn’t though. Books are to be read. I read them and now I’m passing them on for others to enjoy. There are some that I will keep (Harry Potter, anyone?) because I have and will continue to reread them. Movies work in much the same way for me. I have a select few that I watch over and over and really love. Most of them were just there to try and prove something though.

I am still working on this journey of mine. I want to have things that I love and that I use around me. Finding those things is a process and it seems silly to really think about why you have certain things or buy certain things. Ultimately, it’s about figuring out who you are and what you truly want in your life. Your stuff is not your legacy. Your stuff is not going to love you. It certainly doesn’t make you happy. Happiness has to be found within yourself. There’s nothing wrong with having material possessions but all to often the possessions begin to possess us. Stopping and thinking about your things and deciding what’s bringing you true joy makes your whole life happier and easier.