Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad; whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.
- John le Carre
- John le Carre
It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon and everyone's taking a nap. Figured it's the perfect time to write.
This morning I just finished loading my truck with boxes of toys, clothing and variety of household items. Tomorrow we're headed out first thing in the morning to donate it.
It makes the process of downsizing a lot easier knowing that the things we had is going straight to the hands of people who need it.
The actual act of paring everything down has been an eye-opener. It's not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I never realized I can get so attached to something I barely used. We actually have had a couple of fights because of it. I'm talking about temper tantrums, like taking something away from a child.
The baby steps towards a minimalist mindset is:
Emotional. Like I said, we get attached to things. We become very sentimental about stuff that hold no sentimental value whatsoever. Toughest things for me to get rid of? My game table and my 3 piece entertainment bar set. (It was one of the first things we purchased when we bought our first house.) I decided to get rid of both because it's silly to put the game table in storage when some kid can be enjoying it instead. The bar has no place in our smaller NYC apartment.
There's no shame in owning up around my blog so here goes...
You know what really ate me up? I was pretty pissed off that people were buying great pieces of furniture from us for a great price when I paid full sticker price for it. That's my fault for paying $$$. So I'm really pissed off at myself. Do you smell a sucker? Then it must be me! Zing! Never again though. Live and learn.
Enlightening. It forces you to think about things you usually don't have to deal with. Like, "How the hell did I end up with this much shit?" I swear I didn't get them wet & didn't feed them after midnight so I don't see how they could've multiplied and turned evil on me (I always insert random movie references whenever I get a chance) And it's not over yet kids!
Exhausting. Uh, yes, yes. Actually I should be taking a nap but I had to get this post off my chest. Between last week's yard sale, putting stuff up on craigslist, boxing things up for the move and donation - we're both pretty wiped out.
I just realized each one of those points started with E. That was completely unintentional.
What I learned.
This is the beginning of a process. Not just of eliminating unnecessary objects either acquired or given to us, but understanding how we ended up having so much but only using and needing very little.
It takes a lot of work and effort to make conscious and wise decisions as a consumer. Do I really need this or do I just want it? How is this going to help me/us with our current goals?
How to be a better consumer. We won't have any large furniture when we get to NY which means we'll end up purchasing some basics. We're looking for multifunctional pieces and going for more of a utilitarian route. Space is limited so it needs to have a purpose for being there.
It gets easier as you go along, or it feels like it anyway. You know the term "unloading the baggage?" It literally feels like you're doing that. It's easier to think that someone else is enjoying that guitar that you barely play, that shirt that still had it's tags on, etc.
This doesn't mean I'm giving up everything and just living with 100 things (Amazon Affiliate link).
We're just creating new habits that in the long run will enable us to save money, appreciate the things we do have, concentrate on the stuff that matters, be smarter consumers and focus on building and creating our ideal reality which will hopefully lead to making a lasting difference.
Update: Dropped off all the goods at SafePlace today. It was a longer drive than anticipated but it was completely worth it.
About the title? For me, minimalism is gangster because it's a full-on hard core commitment to undoing the way you live, the way you consume (or not consume) and becoming a more conscious human. It's not just about getting rid of stuff, it's about dealing with lifelong habits and inner demons. So yeah. That's my answer and I'm sticking to it.
P.S. I was torn as to which photo I was gonna use for this post so here's the alternate one.
Be an action figure. Do something.
1. I'm opening comments for this post just because. So feel free to leave a message.
2. Subscribe to my RSS then join the Hooligans.
3. Share - Tweet, FB, Stumble, Digg, Email, or link to your site.
4. Follow me on Twitter if you haven't already - I love chatting with people there.