Striving for Minimalism

In my previous post, I wrote about considerations for traveling minimally. Merely thinking about and researching this has inspired me to once again strive for minimalism in my own life. Last time I tried this, I believe I failed because I tried to get my family on board with it – something they simply are not ready for. Really though, when I look at my house, a good bit of the “stuff” is mine. I do have a lot of things I never use that can go. I’d like to take another stab at it, this time focusing only on my stuff. Perhaps in doing so, I will inspire others in my household.

Successes and Failures

I’ve gotten really good at letting go of clothes. I just took a pile out this morning to take to the thrift store. Where I fail is with the small stuff that I don’t consciously think about – DVDs I never watch, LaserDiscs and VHS tapes I don’t even have equipment for, boxes of wires and connectors I never use, old software that won’t run on modern PCs, the 14 Bibles I have when really I only use one or two of them, the drawer full of ties I have when I only ever were the same one or two, all the belts that are too big for me, Military uniform items I’ve shrunken out of, combat boots that are no longer authorized for wear with the uniform, the furniture in my study that never gets sat upon. That’s just the stuff in the house. Don’t get me started on the stuff in the attic.

What I Want

I read yesterday (I think on theminimalists.com) that minimalism is not necessarily about big empty rooms. Well, that’s what I want. If I lived alone, I’d want a small house with only one big table and one chair in it. That’s it. However, I don’t live alone, but that doesn’t mean I can’t strive to live with less.

How I’ll Get It

Often in our home, the tendency is to think that buying more means by which to organize our stuff is the solution (although it’s true our house is woefully lacking in cabinets. It’s like the people who built it didn’t plan on owning towels or bed linens). Really though, the best way to organize our stuff is to have less of it. As I stated previously, I’m not going to beable to force anyone into going along with me on this. I can only handle my stuff.

Each day for a month, I’m going to get rid of something. I saw a game on theminimalists.com that says to start with one thing, and increase the number by one each day. That sounds cool, but I’m not going to do that. In the spirit of what I’m hoping to accomplish, simplicity, I’ll keep this simple. I plan to get rid of something, preferably more than one something, each day for a month. I’ll take the 5 days I’ll be gone to SF for VMworld out. So, until the 18th of next monts, I will rid myself of at least one or more material possession each day.

I started today. I got rid of all those ties, last year’s VMworld backpack, a stack of pants a friend gave me that I don’t want (and don’t fit anyway), a blazer I never wear, some pants I only wore for my dad and Mom’s wedding, a shirt I don’t really like, two pair of combat boots, an old digital camera, all but one of my belts, a polo shirt that’s too big, and these Nantucket red shorts I bought this summer, but that just aren’t “me”. Wow, that was liberating. Perhaps I should list the things I get rid of each day.

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