Tag Archives: Minimalism

21. Letting Go: Part 1

Streamlining my closet, dresser, and nightstand energized me.  Here are some other things I’ve let go in the past couple weeks:

All my photo albums except our wedding album, a scrapbook I made before I had kids (includes my favorite pics from early life), and a photo book I made chronicling our time living in New York, New Jersey, and Chicago

– My photos from 2004 and later are digital, and I still have them on Phanfare (not an affiliate link…I don’t like to put those on my blog.  But I can email you a referral code if you want 20% off).  The digital photos take up no space in my house, and I can access them from anywhere.  I did convert  three or four paper pics to digital by taking a picture of the print with my iPhone.  As for my older photos, I never looked at them. I packed them and moved them 9 times in 10 years, and I never looked at them.

It may seem drastic to throw out photos and photo albums, but I still have my memories.  And, if I can’t remember something without a picture, it probably wasn’t that special to me in the first place.

All kids’ school work from years past and all first-grade textbooks

– I saved a couple writing samples from both Ashby and Ryan (one from the start of the year and one from the end) and placed them in a one-inch binder.  At this rate, I’ll be able to fit samples from all our homeschooling years for both kids

Their history and science narrations are kept in notebooks on their own library shelves.  Ryan, in particular, pulls out his first-grade history notebooks regularly for bedtime reading.  So, I have no problem keeping them.  When they cease to be used, I’ll recycle them.

As for the textbooks, both my kids are past first grade.  So, why do I need them?  Next year, I’ll add second grade to the list…and so on…

All but six sets of my everyday dishwear

– Why do I need 12 sets of dishes? There are four of us!   What I’d really like to do is get rid of it all and just use the China.  I love my China, and I never use it!  (The only reason I kept any everyday dish sets is that I’m not 100% certain the glaze on the China is lead-free. If I can verify that, the everyday is gone!)

All but my two favorite sets of bed sheets (plus one flannel set for winter)

– I only ever use these sheets anyway.  Why let the rest take up so much shelf space for no reason?

Unnecessary kitchen gadgets

– This was easy.  Do I really need an olive grabber?  English muffin baking rounds?  Two vegetable peelers?  Eight cheese spreaders?  I think not.

Extra cookware

– This one…not so easy.  I love to cook, and on some level, parting with anything All-Clad seemed wrong.  But, come on!  How many times have I used my All-Clad wok?  Or, my mini All-Clad wok?  They are quality tools, but I don’t need them.  So, off to Goodwill they went, along with some heavy duty braising pots, sauce pans, and my adorable All-Clad butter melter (just a doll-sized pot…used only for melting butter).  How ever will I live without it?!

There were sauté pans, cookie sheets, tart pans, bread pans, mini bundt pans, mini muffin tins, and mini springform pans, too.  All gone.  Hopefully, they will find their way to someone who needs them and uses them.

I feel much lighter now.  What next?


20. Definitely Less

I have spent the past couple weeks clearing out the house, and I’m nowhere near done.

It started with washing the outside of the windows. Usually, that’s Mike’s job. But, he was organizing the garage, and I’d been wanting to try a new method I read about on Happily Occupied Homebodies’ blog: warm water, vinegar, and Dawn soap with a couple clean rags. Simple. I spent a couple hours on a beautiful, cool summer day washing and drying the windows while I listened to my podcasts. I found it it very satisfying and therapeutic. A seemingly insignificant and mindless job, right? But, it was so peaceful…and interesting to look at my life from this perspective. I mean, how often do you stand on the outside of your windows looking in?

I saw some folded laundry in the family room, a couple plastic kids’ cups on the kitchen island, a few picture frames I had yet to hang (more on that later) resting between my nightstand and wall. But, as I cleaned the small window in the master bath, I realized how much I liked the look of the pale blue walls, the round mirror, the tiny white sink, and nothing else. It was so clean, with nothing unnecessary cluttering it. What if the whole house had that feel?

I organized my closet the next day and donated two big bags of clothes I never wear, 8 pairs of shoes (after Ashby tried on all of them), all but one fancy clutch, all but one tote bag, and all but a few of my favorite scarves. I threw out all the mementos I’d been storing in there: childhood diaries and more recent journals, old photos, birthday cards from Mike and the kids…everything. I still have all the memories these things represented. I don’t need the stuff.

I’m not the first to say it, but It’s the truth: I am not my things. So, why load myself down with things? For me, it’s a simple choice…let go.