A bit of an update on me: The last few months have felt very restless. I'm sure my post "Time" has alluded to my former emotional state, but I've been really thinking about what I want out of my life and where I want to go with it. I'm not sure what the next step will be just yet, but I've been working on pulling myself up, putting on my big-girl pants, and moving forward.
I still have some rough days, and it has been an ongoing battle. I can't thank my friends and family enough for sticking by me and providing such unwavering emotional support. The road has been pretty rocky, but the good news is that I'm finally beginning to emerge from the darkness. It's amazing how much power that kind of constant love can have.
Since I have been starting to see the glass as half-full again and get my life back in order, I decided my first step would be to get my apartment reorganized. Sometimes the best way to get control of a situation you can't control is to take something you CAN fix, and FIX IT. I have already begun to feel a new sense of purpose by starting to get rid of the clutter. However...
...I've realized that I have accumulated a lot of crap over the years.
In "Letting Go" I brought up my discovery of minimalism, and how I started applying it to my daily life. Even with everything I've learned, and how many material things I've been able to let go of, I have still managed to hold on to a lot of stuff.
The hardest things for me are sentimental items. An item a friend or relative made for me. Something that reminds me of someone. I guess it's nice that these are the items I have the hardest time parting with, as they actually mean something to me. But they don't represent that person and who they are. They're just objects. They aren't my memory of that person. If I hold them in my heart, I don't need a gift or trinket to remind me of them.
So I'm trying to get better about letting go of some things. Here is some of what I've learned during this process, in case you're ready to start as well:
Start small, and with duplicates.
Do you really need 15 serving plates if you live by yourself? Why do you have three saucepans? Do you need a drawer full of pens, or just one? How many socks are really necessary in life?
Start asking these questions, and start small. Begin to fill a bag with items that are old, worn out, chipped, or stained. Then move on to items you have in excess. Have 15 mugs, and live with one other roommate? Choose the one you use the least, and put it in a bag. Toss in two pairs of socks. Add in a few books. You'll probably fill up that bag pretty quickly!
Box it up, let it sit.
If you're anxious about letting go of certain items, put them in a box, and set them aside. You don't have to donate or sell them right now. Just let them rest out of sight for a couple of weeks, for up to a month. Did you go looking for that item at any point in time? If you did, maybe you're not ready to part with it just yet. If you didn't, you probably don't need it as much as you think.
In the book Everything That Remains, they box up everything in Josh's apartment as though he's moving. For one month he can only unpack things he actually needs to use. He's shocked at how little he ends up unpacking.
REALLY THINK, about each item you own.
Go through your house or apartment, and look at each item you own. Ask yourself some questions:
- Is this benefiting my life, or taking up space?
- Why am I holding on to this?
- Do I NEED this?
- Do I USE this?
- Do I have multiples of this?
- Would my life feel less cluttered without this item?
- Is it worth it to pack this item and unpack it in a new location?
These are all great to ask, but the important thing is try to be as honest as possible with your answer! Let go of what you don't need.
Now that you've minimized - STOP BUYING.
This is the hardest part, but the most important one. What's the point of minimizing your stuff if you're just going to buy more stuff to replace it? Simplifying can help remove distractions, and help to keep focus on what truly matters. Don't go so far in learning to let go of things you don't need, only to replace those items with new things you don't need. Think of it as a lifestyle change, and embrace your new-found space and free time.
This is a great article by Becoming Minimalist to help you with thinning out your closet, especially if you're in need for some serious spring cleaning.
Oh, and the guys that inspired me so much with their stories? They're touring with their first documentary, appropriately and simply titled "MINIMALISM" this year. I'm so thrilled for them and their success!