Tuesday, April 27, 2010

mnmlsm, or something entirely unlike it

That would be minimalism, in case you were wondering.

A friend recently told me she's interested in minimalism. She's been interested in weeding out the extra stuff in her life. I mumbled something along the lines of me also being interested in it but that I realize it's something I'm incapable of. (I actually, can't remember my exact stumbled-over response, but that's close enough.)

Here's the thing: I've always held on to stuff. I've whittled and whittled. I've given away bags and boxes and more bags and more boxes worth of stuff. And yet... Ah, there's always more.

We've lived in our current place for three months now (I can hardly believe that, but it's true) and the den is still a wreck. I keep saying, "I'd like a bookshelf for the closet so I can unpack and clean up." That's totally just an excuse. First off, I could just shove the eight boxes (I just counted) in the closet and that would help matters immensely, but I really do want to get rid of some of the crap. But, when I start to go through things, I always stop and think, "Hmm, I might be needing this at some point. What if I get rid of this [random piece of crap I probably haven't looked at in months or, ahem, years] and then realize I could have used it?" So, the stuff still sits. It's so much easier for me to focus on Pic's wreck of a room or the wreck that is the garage. And, even these I have largely ignored for the last couple of months. I am just overwhelmed by our stuff.

The other day, I concluded that our stuff is like weight. It's so easy to gain weight, and to gain it quickly at that. It's hard, for me at least, to drop the extra weight, though. As a family, we find it so easy and quick to acquire stuff, but it takes us so long to weed through and rid ourselves of it. Last year was something of a Year of Acquiring. This year I've hoped to realize something of a Year of Decluttering, but I've yet to feel successful regarding this.

I might be more successful with the assistance of some kind of personal trainer: a neutral party who would come in and just pack up a bunch of crap and recycle/give away what isn't needed, but even that thought fills me with a bit of anxiety. I'm entirely too attached to the tangible things in my life. Perhaps what I need isn't someone to clean up my room, but someone to offer mental and emotional help -- not a personal trainer, but a therapist?

So, for now, here I sit, in the tiny den, cramped with boxes and bags and papers and clutter, listening to podcasts and very, very slowly working off the excess.


Coach J said...

Awesome post, very eloquent. I love the idea of therapist as personal trainer, but perhaps that's more pertinent than we think. Aren't there "life coaches" now? Lord knows there are plenty of life coaching-esque blogs out there.

I had a hard time with letting go as well, but after this last move and this last huge life change, "stuff" just doesn't matter as much to me any more. Mr. J prefers the term "simplist," as it doesn't imply giving away every damn thing you own. It has more to do with doing MORE with LESS. Yes, we may have a trailer, but we do so much with it that we don't need other things. A more traditional minimalist approach wouldn't jive with that idea.

You've definitely given me plenty to think about. And if you want to join decluttering forces, I'll be your neutral thrower-awayer if you'll be mine.

v said...

Thanks, J. And, thanks for the inspiration. We move a lot, so I go through this a lot. It's just easier to continually move if we have less stuff.

I forgot about life coaches. I've never been entirely sure about what they do.

We'll definitely have to get together at least to compare notes. I'd love to know what kind of stuff you are letting go of.

Tara W. said...

ha! i just spent the afternoon in a neighboring RV, she paid me to go through her closets and convince her of what she could get rid of, organizing her cupboards, etc.

i *love* this kind of stuff! i'm totally thinking i have a new career on the road! want me to come by? ;)

v said...

Tara, you might die of shock...or at least swoon. We have a lot of stuff. I keep thinking about what it must have been like when you guys were getting ready to head out on the road, ridding yourselves of almost everything. I think it'd feel great, yet very scary at the same time.