moving towards minimalism

I’ve always talked about wanting to reduce the quantity of my physical possessions. And though I’ve never been one to make New Years’ Resolutions, I decided to make “the first day of January in the year two-thousand and fifteen” the arbitrary date to start simplifying my life. Yesterday, before flying out of Sitka to spend a week with my parents and grandparents in California, I packed up all the things that I haven’t been using and took a little inventory of the things I had left in my room.

The number of things that I now own in Alaska:

Clothing: 65

Shoes: 8 (pairs)

Equipment/instruments: 14

Electronics: 3

That’s a total of 90 items.

But I’m kinda cheating. I didn’t count toiletries, and although I didn’t bring any cosmetics to Alaska, I do have quite a few body washes, facial cleansers, toners, serums, lotions and masks, thanks to my mother. I also received some jewelry from friends for Christmas. However, knowing my habits and history with small pretty things, these are bound to be worn, enjoyed for a short while, and lost. I did not count my bedding. I didn’t count all the books I have either. Many of these were borrowed–from people, from work, or from the library. The several books that are mine, I intend to give away as soon as I finish them.

Books

(I promise I read more than just childrens’ poetry)

I didn’t count the clutter of CDs in my room either. Some are borrowed, others were brought back home to California.

CDs

And of course, I’m also cheating because I basically have a warehouse of items in my room back in California. These are the books, stuffed animals, old clothes, sports medals, homecoming mums, and banners that my mom has been hoarding for me since I was a kid.

So even if I’m not letting go of everything but the absolutely necessary things in my life, I can distance myself from most of the clutter. My general goal over the next year (and the one after that…) is to only acquire a new item if I can convince myself to exchange it for two things I already own. It already sounds challenging to me. To get myself pumped up and in the mood, I’m even listening to the music of John Adams and other minimalist composers as I write up this post.

I hope that having fewer “things” will allow me to focus my time and efforts on the things are really important, like improving my personal and professional relationships, reading, blogging, hiking, traveling, and playing the piano, ukulele, and harmonica. You know, all that hippie good stuff about accumulating the intangible but invaluable things in life.

So, hello 2015! The year of the sheep, the year of thinking big and seeing much. The year of living light and going far. I wish you all good health and genuine happiness.

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6 thoughts on “moving towards minimalism

  1. what we found was that another form of minimalism is being debt free – that opens many opportunities, and is its own type of freedom. But sometimes when we realize our things own us as much as we own them, the light goes on.

  2. I have been on this same mental wave length! I thought about it a lot before Bike & Build, but I definitely think this summer pushed me to make this more of a reality. Good luck!

    • Bill–you’re so right.
      Norman–there will always be physical space (and space in my heart) for my bike. 😉
      Marah–yeah, read a lot of books over the years, starting with Thoreau and progressing to less-distinguished writers, but this is the first time I’ve actually made a plan to live simpler. Good luck to you too!

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