Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Breaking It Down

I recently reached some what of a crisis level in my life. I was already considering that I could not save any money with the price of my apartment when my gall bladder had a fit. After lots of tests it was decided it needed to be removed, and that brought with it a flood of medical bills (even with insurance). These swiftly depleted my savings and forced me to move.

That move is what leads me to my point today - I have too much stuff.

As do most people. And why do we have it? Most of our things do not get handled or used, or even appreciated most of the time. And the few things that do are the only things we really need. I've come to the conclusion that hanging on to things is pointless for me, and the only things I really need are either information based (computer, books), entertainment based (movies, music, games), relate to daily life (clothes, dishes, cleaning supplies), or are used to create (art and jewelry supplies). Beyond these things, what else to I REALLY need? Do I need to have a comic book collection, or any of my other collections? I don't. But I have them because I feel like I need them...

I don't.

Life is about having experiences, not having posessions.

Even my art supplies are out of control. I have a ton of stuff that I think I might use someday... but I'm not using them today so why do I have them? I may never use them, so why do I have them? A good example is beads. I may only need 2, 4, or 6 of them, but they are sold in strands of 10-100 and so that is how many of them I have. Instead I should use what I need and then resell the rest... which is what I am going to begin doing. I'd like to reduce my jewelry supplies to no more than can fit in a small rolling suitcase. Anything beyond that is wastefull. I'd like to be able to fit all of my jewelry & art supplies under my desk... the ultimate in unwasted space.

The apartment I just left was a two bedroom...which should have been too big for a single person but I had used one bedroom as a "studio". It rarely got used because it was too full of stuff to actually use it. My two desks were constantly covered with new supplies I had purchased or projects that were in-between and I knew would probably never get finished. I hold on to supplies because I never know when I'll need them...

And don't even get me started on the number of shoes and handbags I own... or my jewelry and clothes. My goal is to have 7 pairs of shoes (and when they are worn I will discard and replace them), same with handbags. This is still a sizeable amount in the realm of minimalism, but it is an amount that makes sense for me. If I can fit all of my shoes, handbags, scarves, jewelry and other accessories into a single large plastic bin then I will be satisfied with that. As it is, I had eight pairs of shoes in their original boxes plus two trash bags full of shoes. I had a box full of handbags and a second box that has handbags, scarves, gloves, etc. Four plastic containers of jewelry (and then some), a makeup box and travel bag full of more, a box full of hair care products and a plastic bin full of hair accessories I rarely use.

A big part of this is because I buy things that look cool or I think I'll like, and they end up not working the way I wanted them to or being uncomfortable. Occasionally I even buy something and later decide that it's too flashy or just doesn't fit my style.

New proposition: no new things unless I'm replacing something old, damaged, or broken. It won't be easy as retail therapy has been quite a thing for me... I do that a lot and it needs to stop.

I'm going to purge as much as possible and then I am going to stop bringing new things in as well. I want to be able to live in a cheap one bedroom apartment if that is what my financial situation dictates, and never need to put my posessions in a storage shed again. Enough is enough.

If you want to take this challenge yourself, and reduce down to a minimalistic lifestyle and declutter your world, here are a few links that you may find helpful:

Zen Habits

Remember: You are who you are, not what you have.

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