Journey to Minimalism

Maybe it’s just where my energy is going but HECK YES minimalism is flowin’ …. AND – it is all the rage these days. Maybe it is the age bracket I am moving into but I think the current drive of people is to live a simpler, more intentional life. Minimalism looks different for different people. Plain and simple. What I require to live could be less or more than what you require to live. It is pretty simple lifestyle math – where one thing directly affects another.

Getting rid of things that clutter your physical life declutters your mental life – allowing YOU more time – allocating that how you see fit (traveling, taking classes, drinking more, socializing more, entrepreneurial things).

When you don’t need to subconsciously think of all that junk – When you stop placing value on things, you stop buying into consumerism and stop buying stuff – life changes.

I used to be a low-grade hoarder.  I am not even kidding. I somehow collected all of these foolish things that I didn’t really need, things that I never ever used. I used to have hoards (or at least what I deemed hoards) of things just packed away in boxes that I was not really sure what I would do with. You know when you’re constantly moving around you have these things that you think would be great for an apartment one day when you settle down but that getting an apartment day always gets trumped by plane tickets to XYZ. I got reminded constantly of things I had laying around in my sister’s houses’, in my parents house, in my friends houses in the far east of Canada – after awhile it just got to be overwhelming. Last year when I loved to Montreal I took the leap and shipped all my things to one place. I got a studio apartment and hung out in there with no furniture just boxes of things. All my stuff all in one place.

I spent a long time living somewhere between hipster and poverty – where I wasn’t sure if I just couldn’t afford things or if I was really just that much of a hippie or hipster and didn’t want the to buy things. I basically just lived in my apartment, on an air mattress surrounded by my stuff. It was a sad time.

Was I choosing mason jars or where mason jars choosing me?

I went through a lengthy couple of years just discarding “stuff” that I had shipped around the world and around Canada. I downsized my memories to a hard drive and a few boxes. It has been a very very slow journey to adulting. A slow journey to setting myself up for financial success and a debt repayment game plan, changing my ways and my spending. I have taken to not spending money on things I don’t need but still spending on experiences (mostly travel) or on moments and events and memories. It has been one of the more liberating and grown up things that I have done.

Now the only thing I need to do or really want to do is keep up with my dreams, goals and above all finding an alternative way to sustain myself. Manifestation of good things. Amazing things.

A few years agoA good friend once told me that she would find time to have a Boyfriend when she finally cleaned out her closet. That was five-ish years agos. I took it to heart. Truth is – I have yet to clean out my closet and not surprisingly a Boyfriend has yet to stick. I have a sneaking suspicion that they might be correlated.You know all that boxed up stuff in your closet, things that don’t fit it is all clutter – it clutters the mind – it distracts, it makes you not deal with things.

It just dawned on my one day – that it was all connected you know?! The moving and the finances and the free living – the disregard for responsibility. I needed to own up my to shit.

So…. I challenged my self and so can you.

The Challenge: Get rid of something everyday – for the next 30 days (getting rid by throwing away, recycling, donating or selling)

(this actually took me more than 30 days more like a year and some)

The Goal:  To clean out all those pesky things I have been holding onto of no value, maybe make a few bucks selling a few things of value, but mostly just to make the clean actually happen (and let’s be real – get ready to move … again!)


Captains Log:

 Day 1 (June 16th, 2014):  Shredded 2 cheque books; one of old cheques, and one of unused cheques (both for a bank account I not longer have) and then added the zip case to my already labeled “to donate” bag.  Small things but a step in the right direction.

Day 2 (June 17th, 2014): Deleted 35 items from my laptop + uninstalled 2 items. I know it isn’t stuff that you can touch – but if you ever looked at a writers computer or even anyone disorganized like myself you would totally get this (plus I am super exhausted, to exhausted to do anything and felt that I couldn’t disappoint on day 2)

 Day 3,4 &5 (June 18th-20th): Nothing. Shame on me! I had a super rough week at work; most nights I came home and went right to bed. I thought about cleaning out my craft bin, bundling books to sell – I even went as far as making a new ebay password – but then I remember I needed to get postal prices and needed a new dress and the stress started. I then starting deleting more things from my laptop – starting thinking about things  I could get rid of and made a better game plan because when I rent a car to head to my sisters wedding this weekend – I want to get the rest of my things from my sisters and purge what is left in her basement. I also went through and opened up all sorts of old email accounts to start deleting that life away.

 Day 6 (June 21): I have been on a mad writing spree all day. It feels great. Sometimes I just get into these moods and I can’t stop typing and I love it.  ohh geez – I digress.  Today – craft supplies and craft bin. Markers, paint, brushes, charcoals, the arts of the past looking for a new home.

 Day 7 (April 7, 2015 – Montreal) – I took recycling bags full of books to the “Leave a Livre” box on Monkland Ave. on my way to work the other day – back at it after a long ass time and even a move (Note: Sometimes I seem to think that I need to hold onto things because I might reread or reuse but I never reread and I am not moving things again – end of the line.)

Day 8 (Avril 9th, 2015 – Montreal) – I just revisited that book pile and pulled another 20 that I am taking to a different “Leave-a-Livre” on Sherbrooke Ouest.  The goal it is get down to one box of keep-ables – I also made a pile that I think will sell at a second hand book store. I will likely do that sometime next week.  I am also in the process of ripping my CDs onto my computer so once that is completed – they will all go – I feel like that will be my next few days of purging (some tasks take longer than others – just how it is)  – I am not sure where this is all heading but it is fucking liberating. Just trying to enjoy the journey. I am totally kicking myself for spending $1100 shipping things here but I guess the Universe thought I needed some alone time to sort through my past. So I am trying to just go with it.

On another note does it count if I purge a dread-lock a day?  I am combing some out and cutting the rest off as I go through this process!

 Day 9 (April 11th, 2015) – I am burning my CD library to my computer – this is more than a day task – 1/2 way there and then I am going to throw them up on Kijiji for super cheap – will let you know when they disappear completely out of my life. It is hilarious going through the music I want to keep. I am mostly excited for a newly loaded and organized iTunes. 🙂

 Day 10 (April 17th, 2015) – I just sold ALL my CDs to some guy named Marc from Laval. WoOt, WooT! I feel a little load has been lifted out of my life and onto someone else. Big Progress today.  I am also in the process of moving pictures onto my HD (from CDs) and then I will throw away those disks. Lastly, today I will be taking my old writing binders and sorting into recycle-able and garbage and getting rid of that tonight. So slowly the boxes are being freed from my life. I can’t explain how great it feels to be less a few pounds of ‘what-used-to-be’ and getting onto the road of ‘what-is’ …

Day 11 (April 20th, 2015) – I had been carting around with me a bunch of photo albums that I made forever ago – like 6 albums. I took all the photos out, put the albums in the donate bag and ripped up all the photos. The giant binder of my trip back packing across Canada – just down to the photos in a smaller album (because that was before the digital times). I have another recycled bag of goods to take the Salvation army.  And, I have emptied another box.

 **Note: My soul is lifting you guys, baggage is disappearing, I feel great.  Also I think I found a place to take my old DELL PC too so that I can donate it – and Friends that will be one HUGE HUGE thing off the list. I am peeing my pants with excitement to do my makeup collection and my closet but gotta keep the jobs in check and tackle one space at a time.

 *** BIGGER SIDE NOTE: When I moved to Montreal I shipped 20 boxes/bags and flew with a duffel bag, a small wheeled suitcase, a backpack and a VERY large purse. My plan is to leave with 2 boxes, 2 duffel bags and a brand new plane size travel backpack. Watch it happen.

 June 2015 (Montreal): After months of trying to downsize my book collection I finally just took them all to the used book store – $60 richer and I only own the essentially books for my life at this moment. Some architecture things and 2 fun reading books and some cookbooks ohhh and a spiritual well being book. I am impressed with myself. Also this month – I got rid of 7 pairs of jeans that don’t fit me – all the winter jackets that are now too small, shoes, really … I would say 3 garbage bags full of clothes. My traveling mug collection and so much more ….

At the end of June I moved from Montreal to Edmonton. Coming to Edmonton, I shipped 3 pieces and traveled with a rolling suitcase, backpack and purse – I have downsized to about a 1/4 of the amount of stuff. Mostly of crap I didn’t really need.

July 2016 (Edmonton): After almost a year in Edmonton, I have hardly acquired a thing, my entire life fits into my bedroom. I have really worked at downsizing my collection of papers and things I need to keep. I think twice about clothing and at every change of season, I purge my closet.

This journey will never end. However, I really try to not buy things that I think I will one day throw away – if it doesn’t have a long term use I am over it.

Where is your minimalism journey taken you? Do you feel liberated by getting rid of things??