Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cleaning out the closet

“I've found that the less stuff I own, the less my stuff owns me.” 
- Nathan W. Morris

It's usually around this time of the year when I get the cleaning bug.  I think the spring fever comes and some natural instinct to clean house takes over.  All of a sudden I just feel like getting personal with dusty corners, messy closets and bringing order out of the chaos again.

On Sunday I tackled my personal closet.  It's been a year since the last clean up and the said chaos was very well established.  It took me about couple of hours but by the time I was done, there was a lot more light in my closet and whole lot of unneeded clothes and junk in the big black garbage bag.  Taking into account that I have not added anything to my closet since the last time I cleaned it out, that was surely an accomplishment.

Out with the old, in with ... nothing.

That's right.  This is not about cleaning and reorganizing, this is de-cluttering.  Every year before last year I simply moved stuff around.  I organized, put away, folded what needed to be folded and hanged what needed to be hanged.  I got rid of some stuff, but never enough.  Somehow I always needed more hangers and I didn't even question why that would be.  Until last year.

Last year something different happened.  As usual I wanted to reorganize my personal space as well as the storage rooms in the basement but I realized that in order to do that I needed not only more hangers but also more storage bins. There was just too many lose things hanging around everywhere. I even went to the department store to purchase these bins.

And it was at the department store that it hit me.

I didn't need more storage bins.  I needed to get rid of useless stuff.

This set me off on a rampage throughout the house and by the time I was done, not only everything was organized, but I had extra two empty storage bins and many garbage bags full of items we didn't need, all destined for local Goodwill.

I was on to something and I didn't even know if it had a name.  I looked it up and it turned out it did.
It was called minimalism.  Whatever minimalism was, I wanted to do it or at least get darn close to it.

I watched several videos about people's personal journeys and the one that moved me the most was the story about Peter Lawrence.  I was shocked that some people lived like that and I was instantly inspired.  I knew that this is an example of extreme minimalism and I knew that there is no way my family would go for living like this but it made a serious impression on me and after I was done watching this video, I parted with whole bunch of dishes in the kitchen.  Go figure.  There is only four of us living here but for some reason we had about 100 mugs.  Why?

It's an ongoing process to learn to get rid of useless material possessions, things that don't serve any real purpose now nor will they ever in the future.  It's not always easy.  Sometimes sentiments are attached to these said possessions and giving them away feels like giving away part of my heart.  It's okay though.  It's good to break through this barrier and keep plugging on.  In the end I realize that material things don't define me, they only clutter my space and collect dust.  I feel lighter after getting rid of unwanted junk, almost like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

Today I still can't say that minimalism took hold in my house.   No matter how much I try and get rid of things, other people keep dragging stuff in.  It's a two step forward, one step back process, but overall, I think I manage to get rid of more stuff than we all bring in.  There is a light at the end of this tunnel.



  1. I rarely throw away anything that is still useful. My experience has been that as soon as I get rid of that piece of pipe, or this old wrench, something occurs that I could have used the now long gone item to fix.

    My youngest brother is a minimalist. When he moved from California to Oregon he sold everything he could, gave away almost everything else, and left with one car full of possessions for his whole family. Given that he moved from a ranch, this seemed extreme to me.

    1. Useful things I keep as well, unless of course I have to many of the same kind. It's the useless junk that I need to get rid of and there is a lot of that at my house.

  2. Kamyria,
    You are going through the same thing I did a few weeks back. Prepping is a serious hobby for me but the other week I looked at what I have accumulated and it hit me. What am I doing, I don't need or could ever use all this 'stuff'. I have duplicates and triplicates of 'stuff' and many other items I bought that didn't live up to expectations and should have gotten rid of but I 'found a spot for them'! I feel much better and more focused now, plus the Salvation Army store I donate to now has a lot of my old 'stuff' to sell and help other people with those funds so it didn't go to waste :-)

    1. Prepping can run away at you if you're not careful... lol Sometimes I look at something that I want to get rid of and try to find a purpose for it. Almost anything can appear to have a purpose, but we can't keep everything. :)

      I donate to the local Goodwill.. It's good to know that I can help others get what they need for low cost.