Minimalist – 1: Pack Rat – 0

So previously I wrote about one of my favorite blogs, The Minimalists, and my upcoming adventure in Minimalism. Well, today I’m happy to report that I’m off to a wonderful start. In my attic there were boxes of “stuff” that I’ve been hanging on to for….well, some of it more than 20 years. I don’t use this “stuff”, it doesn’t come out of the box, it just sits up there in my attic and somehow gets carted from place to place to place as I move through life.

Well, today was the beginning of a new day, a new dawn in life. Over at The Minimalists, they talk about “taking stock” of your “stuff” and purging that which is either a] not useful or b] simply not necessary. This is not always easy to do. We, Americans especially I think, have a very strong connection to nostalgia, keepsakes, kitsch, and all the crap that reminds you of a happy time. These things are INSANELY difficult to get rid of. I know because I just did this over the weekend.

the first load out of the attic

But I took my time. I went through my boxes of “stuff”, got one last long look at what amounts to the last 20-odd years of “me” and made two piles. In one pile I put the things that I simply do not need to hang on to. This was a very large pile. In the second pile I put the things that REALLY are special, i.e. a photo of my old cat Goober, may he rest in peace, and a couple old photos of my eldest daughter. This stack, once done sifting through about 200 pounds worth of “stuff”, ended up being about 1/4″ high and amounted to a few photos and some old negatives that I can archive and store for posterity sake. Everything else will be headed for either a] the dumpster or b] the recycling bin. Either way there are going to be some very unhappy people come pick-up day. :-\

The final step to my first weekend fore into Minimalism was to go through my closet and my dresser. This was actually not terribly difficult a task to do as it’s a task I’ve been putting off for quite some time anyway. I’m already one of those guys that “wears” my clothes. And by that I mean I wear them until they are no longer fit for public consumption. So, I went through my work clothes (the only thing I really keep in my closet other than jeans) and threw out what was stained, faded or otherwise just not presentable any longer. Then I did the same for my work pants. Lastly I went through my jeans. I kept one pair of cargo pants that I use for painting and other miscellaneous “work” and three other pair of jeans that are my favorites.

This done, I moved to my dresser which I discovered was full almost entirely of t-shirts. I had thought that I probably had one too many t-shirts….but I had no idea that the number was more like 20 too many. 😐 So, another stack of those later and I actually have a free drawer.

All in all it was a successful weekend of purging and evaluating what it truly important and useful. I’m not nearly done, but as you can see by the photo below, I’m well on my way. The next steps will be to go through my book collection, my CD/DVD collections and then it will finally be time to go through all of the knick-knacks that pile up in a home with two kids. I’m really excited about all of this. It feels good to get rid of “stuff” and finally come to know what it truly useful and worth keeping in life. I hope you’ll stay tuned as I continue this journey and maybe even do a little purging of your own.

the trash pile - yes, the boxes are full

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