Anyone out there still purging their house? I’m still trucking along. In case you missed it, I am on a journey to minimalism and began to seriously purge every corner of my home January 1st of this year in an effort to eliminate half my belongings.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record every couple of weeks, I like to pass on some insight as I come across it; plus, writing about this helps me process what it is I'm doing here and enables me to continue moving forward.
Along the way, I’ve researched a few methods to this madness, with varying strategies for letting-go. The idea alone that there is more than one strategy for discarding our things is peculiar in and of itself. Discarding seemed pretty simple to me: throw away, recycle, sell, donate. But once I got started I found out quickly why people tend to stall out along the way. We are attached to our things...most of our things, on many levels. And it’s helpful to have some guidelines or rules of engagement to help us let go.
As I’ve written before, I started with the Kon-Mari Method. In a nutshell, Marie Kondo’s method is to discard and tidy by categories rather than by location in the following order: Clothing, Books & Magazines, Papers, Kimono (Miscellaneous items), and Sentimental Items. So, I’m doing that. I’ve even tackled the Papers category that had me feeling weary a couple months ago. But let me point out that Kimono is no easier and is a helluva big category!
I’ve also been following The Minimalists for guidance. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are The Minimalists. They have a podcast by the same name and have written several books offering insightful solutions and simple strategies for letting go of those possessions we tend to hold on to “just in case”.
Those miscellaneous objects we've been storing and carrying around for that unseen, hypothetical, far-off chance that we just might need them.
Following a weekly schedule I made at the beginning of the year to ensure I complete my mission by June, I cleaned out my linen closet this weekend. Among the necessary items belonging in a linen closet, I came across an assortment of mismatched sheets, in varying sizes, mountains of extra blankets and comforters I’d been holding onto for those impromptu sleepovers, a stack of board games, a king size mattress cover (I think that’s what it was), and a bazillion hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles I’ve held on to in the event I might need them.
I consider what the Minimalists call the 90/90 Rule. I like implementing this rule because it’s easy to remember: If you haven’t used the item is the last 90 days and you won’t use it in the next 90 days then it’s ok to get rid of it, with one exception: our just-for-when items. Those items that you WILL use maybe once a year or seasonally, such as the Christmas tree stand, skis or patio furniture.
With this in mind I discard all of those "save for a rainy day" items from my linen closet. All of them. It hurts a little. What about the monopoly game?? We had such fun playing that together with the kids at the beach during a series of legitimate rainy days. Or even the shampoo and conditioner bottles that come in handy when traveling or you've just discovered you’re completely out, saving you one more day from having to run to the store.
I'm remembering this isn’t the exact monopoly game we played at the beach. I bought it with the hope that we could recreate that memory when we got home, which I think happened...never. The truth is I don’t need to hold on to the game in order to hold on to the memory. And I think there is this lesson to be learned here. Our things are not our memories. And while I am at it in getting super real with myself, seeing it in the closet makes me feel sad that we didn’t do what we set out to do with the game.
And, in the event that we did want to play Monopoly in the future, I could consider another minimalist guideline, the 20/20 Rule. The idea that any item that was truly needed after discarding could easily be replaced for around $20 within 20 minutes from my current location. It wouldn't be the end of the world or anything if we ended up repurchasing it. But, I can't see doing that. I’m pretty sure I could just as easily borrow the game from our neighbors down the street.
How many just-in-case items are you housing? My house is full of them. Still. It's felt comfortable having all the right things on hand for myself or to lend others. Just in case. The thing is, most, if not all of these items do not bring any real value to my life. They weigh me down and stand right in the way of my vision of how I want to live my life going forward. Letting go of these items frees up my mind, the space in my home and quite honestly takes some of the weight off my shoulders.
And, this is what keeps me going.
Keeping it real. No special folding, matching baskets or pre-photo staging.
And most of the towels were in the laundry rotation.
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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