It’s been nearly ten years since I started minimizing all my shit. (And yes, I will call it shit because most of it has served me no purpose, actually caused a heap of stress and makes me feel like shit when I think about all the time and money wasted). Nonetheless, you live and you learn and I am still learning…
After coming from a place where $160 on monthly storage rent and nearly two full walk-In closets was the norm, I sit here with “no furniture” (as our viewers so often describe it), no home decor, and a dozen articles of clothing and it still feels like too much. Now there is a happy medium for most, but where the “stuff” becomes too much for me is the emotional stress, attachment and meaninglessness that is secured in these objects.
I still spend a whole lot of time in feelings of want over items. We consider spending more money just to cargo rack or haul all our shit to our next destination. And the idea of organizing, sorting, packing and trying to make it all fit is overwhelming. Especially when I don’t use or need half things and they do not enrich my life being in my possession.
I am not saying that owning a certain number of things is either bad or good… For myself, I long for the freedom to live without feeling tied down to stuff. To let go of the responsibility of what to do with all this shit. To move, travel, and journey through life without the burden of a 1000 lbs trailer tailing behind me (because I am tired of it). I have always dragged around “my stuff” since I moved out at the young age of twelve and although I live with far less now being a family of four, plus paws, I want to be done dragging. Each time I come to this feeling I taper down more and more, but I finally realize, like breaking an addiction, I really need to break up with and get away from all of it. I can’t just have one glass here and there if I just got back from AA.
So today I want to share with you the process of how I pick and choose, as well as provide resources of where to get rid of stuff (so you can take action!)
1. I start with a room or category & ask myself, “What is the bare minimum I absolutely need.” Now NEED is a different word for each of us. Some may say that you NEED a bed to sleep on, while others argue that not owning a bed wouldn’t prevent you from sleeping if you had to. For the sake of healthy backs and a good night’s rest I choose some form of a bed to sleep on. You must decide for yourself what is an absolute need. Also, you might need the bed to sleep, but be careful not to throw in the heart shaped pillow you won from the fair in the “need” category. If you have difficulty deciding what is an actual need, you can try the PACKING PARTY to really understand what stuff you truly use.
2. See what’s left over & categorize them into want/like, or convenience/excessive. A great example, speaking of beds, are our blankets. Currently we have seven of them on the bed. Two of which are handmade quilts for the girls (want/like category), three of which we probably need to stay warm without blasting the heater, and two which I would consider just for convenience or excessive.
3. Get rid of all the things in the convenience or excessive category, with the exception of something that’s really put to use. An example of this is my thickest pillow. It’s extra and no one would ever use it because it’s too thick and hard. However, I am currently breastfeeding and at night this pillow saves my back. I will be hanging on to this item because I really use it on a daily basis and it is beneficial to my life.
Get rid of all the want/like items and if you must, choose only one to keep.
How I “Get Rid Of” my stuff:
1. Sell individual items that hold value or gift them to friends & family who would appreciate them (ie. my Canon SLR that we sent to my grandpa).
2. If items don’t sell or individualizing is too inconvenient I go to barter/trade, used item shops. This is more typical with clothes, furniture, small jewelry pieces, and non-trending electronics and you usually don’t get much, but at least it’s something. You can also try consignment shops if you think your item has value that is worth the wait, also host a good ole weekend garage sale.
– Buffalo Exchange
– Platos Closet
– Kid to Kid
– Used electronics
– Pawn Shops
3. Lastly, I donate. All the stuff I can neither sell nor give away.
– Place a FREE ad on www.craigslist.com
– host a FREE ITEMS garage sale/giveaway
– bring to Goodwill or Salvation Army
Make sure to stay tuned for my next minimizing post on how not to fall back into the cycle again, or buying new stuff. I hope this helps you! And if you have any great resources of where to sell or donate, let us know in the comments below!