Much ado about nothing: Living that minimalist life

Apartment Interior I am on a purging kick. Reduce, recycle… and let someone else reuse my no-longer-serving-me-joy odds and ends.

I have long since enjoyed organized spaces. I instinctively understand the correlation between a messy/cluttered space and my stressed messy/cluttered mind (thank you Oprah and Peter Walsh). While I’m good at keeping the common areas of my apartment organized and clutter free, it’s my main living quarters that present a bit of a challenge. I find that I tidy up often, and even though when my space is tidied and items are in their respective homes I am still left with far too much S T U F F.

But no more. I want to create more and consume less and with that in mind I found myself this week taking time to go through drawers and surface areas (hello my beautiful functional Adel) to remove/donate/trash stuff that either no longer has purpose or does not bring me joy. Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is a book I have yet to read, however, I bookmarked the Brightside article I stumbled upon months ago, and I am paying close attention to the content, and an even more paired down, recent post from Refinery29 pays further tribute to Marie’s book, and has really solidified my desire to live that minimal life.

The article lists the following:

  1. Ditch ALL your decor: I’m not sure if I can handle this. All those perfectly curated throw pillows and pictures frames I have amassed? It would be a shame to toss ’em. But I keep this in mind;
  2. Get rid of ALL your houseplants: Uh, no. Though I’ve killed a lot of them, this sort of takes care of this step, I am on the hunt for a tree for my place. Oops;
  3. Stop washing your hair so much: Check;
  4. Don’t get a pet: Check—though this is not because I don’t want to, more I live with an anti-pet roommate. But I see the value in this step if we are talking living minimally If we are talking my life goals? A pet will be had;
  5. Say no to ALL Freebies: It’s tough to say no, but it’s easier to throw out/donate the free junk. That reflective snap bracelet I picked up on my trip to  Iceland?  I’ve been holding on to it thinking I’ll wear it on a night run. I hardly run during the day;
  6. Eat the same thing every day: Mostly checkity-check-check;
  7. Stop watching TV: I have a TV, it collects dust. I use it to watch a DVD now and again (I have a TON of DVDs none of which feed into this minimal lifestyle, do I get rid of them?!). I, like a lot of you, watch “TV” (read: Netflix) on my computer;
  8. Stop getting your nails done: This one is easy. I hardly get them done. I’m practical that way. But it is a luxury I indulge in every now and again;
  9. Banish all flat sheets: I will think about this one. I think I’d like to retire the flat sheet—I mostly get strangled by it throughout the night;
  10. Automate all your bills: Partial check.

This is tough. Really tough.

While in theory, and in half-attempt-practice, I clear and minimalize aspects of my life, there are just some things I don’t know how to get rid of. Or where to find them a home. Perhaps it’s time I finally move to an apartment made up entirely of hidden storage space?

My World War II surviving Dutch grandmother would be proud. I hold on to products and gifted soaps and perfumes like nobody’s business, and incidentally, like Oma. However, my intention differs—she saved for sentimental value, and while I embrace  my sentimentalism I also am quite practical. I find myself getting excited with the slow demise of my body wash. Soon it’ll be time to start on my collection of artisan soaps. However, like my oma, when it comes to clothing and art supplies (and apparently birthday cards, letters, postcards, and memorabilia of Boyfriends Past) I am in minimalist Hell. That T-shirt I bought in 2005 when I was on exchange in Spain, the one with, get this: a Picasso rendering of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, I cannot part with. In fact, I tried to donate it because I have never worn it, nor did I know I even owned it up until last week, but my practical self put it to use. I now wear it to bed. Le sigh.

Pablo Picasso Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

Don Quixote, 1955 by Pablo Picasso (and Julia’s night shirt)

Though Don Quixote has survived the donation pile, I am still feeling good about this decluttering wave I am riding. I look forward to our upcoming long weekend where I can dedicate more time to clearing out those closets and hopefully be more ruthless with my clothes.

This weekend I will tackle the excess, the items that do not bring me joy, the overall paper clutter (on my desk, in my drawers—hello 999 Post-It notes of To Do lists and affirmations), and if I’m feeling really lucky, maybe even my inbox. Clutter abounds in all shapes and forms and I’m realizing this is going to be a process, but one I’m willing to continue to go through.

For your own incentive to declutter and live more minimally, check out these links:

BrightSide’s: The magic of tidying up: your guide to getting your place clean once and for all (referenced above)
Refinery29’s: 10 Things You Need To Ditch From Your Life Now (referenced above)
Refinery29’s: 5 Days Of Minimalism (referenced above)
Lifehack’s: Top 8 Benefits of Living a Minimalist Lifestyle
bemorewithless’: 7 Tiny Steps for the Beginner Minimalist
Refinery29’s: How to Purge Everything You Don’t Need from Your Home
Time’s: Minimalist Living: When a Lot Less is More

And watch this video from Grist.org on why we should strive to be conscious shoppers:

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