I am typing this in the most awkward way possible with a baby sleeping on me, but I really feel like talking about something that happened today so I'm going to make it work...and hopefully keep it short because this is not easy or comfortable. I mean the part about trying to type while balancing a computer on Olive isn't easy or comfortable, I'm really happy about what I want to share.
Over the past few weeks I have donated hundreds of things. My mom is the most helpful person ever and is making it really easy for me by letting me fill up her car when she visits and dropping things off at donation centres for me. I seriously can't thank her enough.
I want to back up a little and talk about the way I'm dealing with getting rid of things. I don't think I've mentioned this yet but it would be way to hard for me to go back and check because of the previously mentioned sleeping baby making this difficult. In the past when I have gone through things to get rid of I always felt like I needed to start with the problem areas first. The basement has lots of big things we aren't using and getting rid of them is a bit of a pain so it's hard to get motivated to do it. Also, even though I have donated tons of clothes, I still have way more than I need. Same with shoes. Add kids toys into the mix and it all just feels too overwhelming to even begin.
When I was thinking about how to start minimizing our things this time I looked around and decided to start with the things around us everyday, the things that are in our kitchen drawers that we have to move around to get to the things we actually use. I had recently organized our kitchen drawers so this was a really easy place for me to start. I could see clearly which items we hadn't used since I had organized, those things that I was hanging onto just in case. Now, it was very easy for me to pack them up. I moved onto cupboards with too many plates, cups and mugs and have been continuing through the kitchen tackling whatever little area I felt I had time for or could mentally handle in that moment.
That's been huge for me. Just dealing with what I feel like I can handle. With Olive being so little still, I can't take a day where I can focus all of my attention on clearing things out, so sneaking a few minutes here and there to add things to a donation box has been the solution. Before, I felt like I shouldn't even bother starting if I can't make a big dent in the amount of things we have but I'm so happy that I've moved past that mental block and have been slowly chipping away, seeing progress, feeling lighter and so much happier. I honestly can't believe what a difference it has made so far. My attachment to things is fading and getting rid of these non sentimental kitchen items is actually making me feel comfortable with the thought of getting rid of things I never would have considered parting with before even though they are adding no value to my life.
An example of this is something that happened today that I want to remember. I have an original Nintendo system that belonged to my Grama. Pretty cool, but also sentimental because I spent a lot of time as a kid watching my Grama play Nintendo. I know, that sounds weird but I loved watching my Grama play video games. Tonight Ivan and I were talking about things that we don't need and he asked me about my Nintendo and all the games. We've played it a few times over the years but haven't pulled it out in a really long time. My immediate response was, "I'm not ready to deal with that yet". As soon as those words came out of my mouth I realized that it wasn't true and that I was totally ready to pass that Nintendo on to someone who would be really excited about it and use it. I am still so suprised by my reaction and it shows me how far I've come in such a short time. Nintendo reminds me of my Grama but I don't need to own a Nintendo to remember her.
I really wanted to document that shift in my feelings about things because it suprised me and made me feel really good. I'm looking forward to more moments like that.
And that key, right there! That was my turning point 3 yrs ago when I first started purging, when I finally let go of something that I thought meant so much to me. After that it was sooo much easier! And I've been a purging maniac ever since. Ha!ReplyDelete
We have a small house, less than 1500 sq ft, and I was very unhappy and depressed that all our storage was taken up by stuff we never use. I started exactly as you did, one drawer at a time. I had tons of books and that was a really hard one for me too, but I started by picking out 3 books a week that I would pass on to someone I know or donate to our small town library. Nowadays when I give someone a book to read I just tell them to keep it! I have kept most of my reference books though. I purged Xmas deco and went from 7 large bins to 3. That was a big deal too because it was a 40 yr collection. I've kept one thing that I truly love from the elders in my family and my husbands family and that one thing means so much more to me now, know what I mean? I love my home now. We have storage space and it's so easy to clean. We just turned 60 and we want an easier life. Now I just need to talk the husband into tackling his shop. Omg...
I loved reading this! I totally get what you are saying. Our house is on the smaller side as well we have spent so much time moving things we don't use around in the basement depending on which room we need to use.
Books are a tough one for me too! We already went through our books a few months ago but we need to do it again and be a little more picky about which ones to keep.
I'm so happy to hear that you love your home now. I am so looking forward to feeling even better about our space when we only have what we need.
Thank you so much for leaving this comment!!
I am such an emotional/memory hoarder too! I saved t-shirts from high school because of the memories, like my memories would just vanish if I got rid of the shirt. How silly is that! I've been working really hard on removing those items from my home as well. WE CAN DO IT!ReplyDelete
Totally get that, Laura. I have an entire plastic tote with clothing in it that I labelled 'Sentimental'. These are things that I will never wear but don't want to get rid of. I'm pretty much ready to let that go and that's a big step!Delete
I love that you have been blogging about this process! I can't wait to watch the documentary you mentioned in your previous posts. We might be moving across the country soon and are planning to go through our things to only move what we truly need. I'm stressed to say the least. Thank you for posting this.ReplyDelete
A big move would be a great time to only keep what you need! You can do it!Delete
I like the approach of just tackling things in small bites. So often, when you watch a doco about minimalism or read a book on the subject, it usually starts with people doing a massive overhaul of their belongings in a short period of time. But that doesn't work for everyone. Going through things takes time, which is something many of us don't have in large chunks. And it's an emotional process. Also, when you add in the time taken to actually get the stuff out of your home, whether that's throwing it away, donating or selling it, it's massively time consuming. Breaking the task into small chunks makes it more manageable. I also believe that making a more gradual shift when trying to change a habit is more successful than trying to make a huge 180 degree turnaround. It's less of a shock to the system.ReplyDelete
It is so time consuming.Even when it's obvious the thing needs to go, the whole process, like you said, takes longer that you would assume. I think the huge purge works well for some people and the slow process works well for others. Everyone has their own way.Delete
Good to hear from you again. I didn't realize how long it had been until the mention of a new baby - congratulations!ReplyDelete
Good for you for making big steps in donating and paring down your belongings. I was raised to be very thrifty so sometimes it's hard for me to get rid of something that I might be able to use someday, or clothes that I might fit into again, books I might want to read, etc.
I also have the saver mentality. I am working through that by telling myself that if it's something very inexpensive I can always buy what I need without much trouble or cost. I have to be really honest with myself about what I think I will use. It's actually been really freeing to get rid of craft supplies that I'm not using because now I don't feel that pressure to make things just because I have the supplies. Not sure I said that clearly but I might expand on that in a blog post later.