Being Diligent

Clearly, my resolve to write more has been benched this year.  That being said, it’s been an amazing freakin’ year.  It started with the Swede, so to speak, as we had our first date on New Year’s Day and has been a whirlwind of adventures since then.  I’ve been shooting, shooting, shooting and working on the photo biz, which has been going fantastically.  The Swede also enjoys taking a picture or two, so we started a fun little blog with our travel pics, you can see that at his & hers photos if you feel like it.

Minimalism is still a huge priority at this point, although, being less than diligent this year has allowed way too much stuff to creep into my home/life/email.  How the hell does that happen?   I mean really, I have been more intentional with everything I buy.  Yet sometimes I still feel totally cluttered.

In fact, I had a little minimalist meltdown this week which is what got me fired up again.  I started in the garage this time and realized that a lot of the “clutter” was essentially garbage that was never dealt with.  My ongoing “donation box” was overflowing, creating a bit of a mess and disorganization.  And the garage was filled with empty shipping boxes from photography projects which were never broken down to be discarded (my recycling service won’t pick them up until they’re broken down.)  So, 20 minutes in the garage quickly eliminated a boatload of stress that the clutter was causing in my already cluttered brain.  It was a quick little eye opener as to how being diligent can prevent things from stacking up, both literally and figuratively.

So for now, I’m trying to apply due diligence to minimalism and all the other parts of my life (like writing.)  Wish me luck!

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Never Gonna Happen ~ Wine Cork Crafts.

I am NOT crafty. It’s not that I don’t have the ability to BE crafty, it’s that I really don’t enjoy it.

This discussion came up last while sitting on friends counter, going on and on and on and on about my new found love on minimalism. And in her kitchen sits a bowl of bottle caps and a vase of corks. We talked about the things she plans to do with them, create table tops and cork boards… and the truth is, I’ve always loved things like this. I would really enjoy having a little table top made out of mismatched bottle caps collected over months or years of friends getting together. or a cork board made special from the wines I’ve shared with them.

But the truth, MY truth is that this is NEVER going to happen for me. I don’t enjoy DIY projects and sincerely doubt that feeling is going to change anytime soon. So could someone please explain to me why, for the love of God, I am still holding on to what has to be HUNDREDS of wine corks? Explain how somehow, despite all of my minimizing efforts around the house, I refuse to throw away, and continue to add to the cork collection.

Well, I guess I know what I’m getting rid of tonight…

crafts

The Convenience of Minimalism

So this morning, I went for a run.

This would not usually be news, but the truth is I’ve been VERY lax with working out lately. But I got to bed at a decent hour and was up early enough to run, but before I made it to the dresser, I was already feeling my motivation wane a bit. All I needed was a single excuse to crawl back into bed and dream for another hour. Normally, I would find this excuse in my overstuffed dresser drawer that held all of my workout gear. Too lazy at 5 am to try to put together a workout outfit, I would just give up and drift back to sleep for a bit. (Bear in mind here, that I’m not all that picky about what I wear, but I do have some favorite socks and sports bras and try my hardest to avoid wearing all dark colors when I’m running outside before the sun comes up.)

But, this past weekend, in my ongoing minimizing process, I had cleaned out my workout gear, (along withe a few other drawers) got rid of all the stuff that didn’t fit right or for whatever reason I wasn’t wearing. As a result this morning, when I was just looking for any excuse, downsized options made for easy pickings and ultimately, a great run.

The Environmentalist Justification

Busted.

I totally just caught myself using the “it’s better for the environment” argument to hold on to a bunch of stuff. Specifically a multitude of coffee mugs. First I should confess that I love coffee mugs, I had a tendency to acquire them like a collection. So when I decided to move towards a minimalist lifestyle, I knew that I was going to have to get rid of a few. Not having actually counted, I believe the number was somewhere around…22. Bear in mind that I drink coffee at my home approximately once a week, if that.

Now, I have pared down the collection quite a bit. I keep 8 10 in my cupboard right now, and recognize that’s probably still more than I need. Plus, aside from the 10 in my cupboard, I have another 7 or 8 that I keep in the drawer where I keep my lunch bag. These rotate in and out of the office.

The justification, of course, being that if I bring a clean cup to the office and the dirty cup home to put in the dishwasher, I won’t use the paper cups and hence, I’m protecting the environment. But this afternoon I came up with a crazy idea. Now this is really revolutionary, so brace yourself…

What if I kept one mug at the office and washed it?

I know, crazy right? I told you it was a novel idea.

It is a rare situation that holding on to too much stuff actually helps the environment. And it’s something I’ll be working through. I started this post yesterday and can say that today, I came to the office with 6 mugs and added them to the office cupboard. My hope is that the next time someone here reaches for a mug, they will use one that I have donated to the stash instead of paper cup. What’s more environmentalist than that?

What are your justifications for holding onto excess stuff, or stuff that doesn’t suite you?

Gone, baby, gone.

Ahhhhh…

What a sweet, sweet feeling it is to have so much stuff out of my house! This past weekend, I invited a couple friends over to dig through my pile to see if they found any treasures in my trash. When they left (yes, with a few goodies) the piles of clothes and household items that were taking up massive space in my home were quickly loaded into a borrowed mini van and delivered to Goodwill.

I cannot tell you how good it feels to be making progress.

There are probably words out there somewhere to express what I’m feeling, but they’re escaping me at the moment. To say that a weight has been lifted, is a massive understatement. However, a friend I have recently visited said this to me, about herself, when I started talking about my move towards minimalism.

“I am burdened by my possessions.”

So simply stated and yet so true, the only way to express how I feel right now is to say that I am unburdened. Or at least becoming unburdened. And while I still have many possessions at this point, still an entire house full, for just myself if I’m being honest, I continue daily to downsize, donate and give away that which I do not require. I am coming to terms with the fact that not only were my possessions not making me happy, they were in fact burdening me in such a subtle way that I honestly didn’t even realize it.

It feels good to be making progress, and I recognize that I am also quickly approaching what feels like mile 20 in a marathon. There may be a wall up ahead. All of the little things, the easy things are gone. I am anticipating challenges up ahead. However, I am a firm believer that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  So here I go.