“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” Socrates
In the spirit of our newfound passion for less, here’s an update on where I’m at in implementing minimalism into our cluttered household…
We finally got to the hallway closet, clearing out all the old games and art supplies from our son’s lifetime and then sorting through all the old towels, blankets, washcloths, bedding, and other assorted stuff to arrive at a place of minimal leftovers and ample space. I have included a picture to show the result. We basically gave ALL the old games and art stuff away to our son’s former elementary school, redistributed what was left to other areas – toilet paper to bathrooms, for example – and kept only full sheet sets that included top sheet, fitted sheet, and TWO pillow cases.
At this point, in the main house we have only two areas left to go – Mom’s room, which I’ve designated as off-limits to my minimalist mantra – and our back bathroom, which I have now abandoned to Alicia and Kealii and added to Mom’s bedroom as outside my jurisdiction. What this means is that I cannot complain about or touch anything in that area if one of my other family members places it there. The only caveat is that the door stays closed at all times or until Alicia takes the steps to clean it to an acceptable level. I now use the front bathroom for my showering and personal needs and have minimalized it to my standards and, like our bedroom, it will soon get a fresh coat of paint and I may even install a new tile floor. The carpet steaming person is coming this weekend to deep clean our bedroom carpet as it’s been well over seven years since its last cleanse. Oh, and here’s a picture of under our bed to demonstrate I’m not going to EVER let it return to its horrible condition of the last however many years.
Now as for the outside, I pretty much cleared out all the old chairs, redundant tools, scrap wood, and other non-necessary items from the backyard and side of our home, leaving us with one outdoor patio set, a lawnmower, and… nothing else. The back storage room is up for treatment, as you can see in the included pictures, but much of the stuff there (everything to the right, including the fridge) belongs to our tenant and will be cleared out in mid-March (he let us know he is looking to be out then). All of Alicia’s product demo gear on the back shelving is being given back to their respective companies now that she’s working for Whole Foods. What we’ll be left with is our three minibikes, three bicycles, three skateboards, and our washer and dryer. Everything else gets put into our camper after sorting and then given away.
And speaking of our trailer, I spent a day with Kealii getting it to the point of removing the tarps and well on its way toward completion for a camping trip in late March. The skins are back on, the windows in place, and the interior scheduled for completion sometime next week. You can read about its progress in another post on our Aristocrat Lo-Liner restoration project here.
Finally, a few tidbits I’ve learned from this whole experience:
1. The 30 day list is a great tool. For those who aren’t familiar, we now put anything we wish to buy or bring into the house on a list, mark the date exactly 30 days later, and then revisit whether or not we still want to make the purchase or acquisition after the 30 days has passed. If we do, we go forward and get whatever the item is, if not, we don’t. As an example, our trusty old Dyson vacuum seemed ready to retire, so I put it on the list to be replaced in 30 days. Sure enough, I got curious and took it apart, finding it only needed around 50 bucks worth of replacement parts to be brought back up to working order (one hose, a roller brush, a canister cap, and a spring) as opposed to spending at least $200.00 for a new Dyson vacuum. I ordered everything from Amazon, had it here a day later, and the vacuum is once again cleaning as it always has. I also thought it would be nice to upgrade my Sol Republic Tracks headphones to its equivalent Bluetooth model, thereby reducing another wire on my desk; however, after only a few days the urge passed and I kept the $300.00 in my checking account to put away into our savings account.
2. I’m WAY more productive. With live television gone, our cell phones pared down, and all our technology condensed into two Microsoft Surface tablets, I’ve been more productive writing and editing than ever. I’m clear of distractions and focused, our household is peaceful and calm most of the time, and we’ve been spending lots more “quality” time together (one example is that we sit as a family and read in the living room each night from roughly 8-9pm). I finally finished my Modern Marriage – Vintage Values book and submitted it to Amazon for publishing and am ready to start my next project, It’s About Time – Minimalizing Your Hectic Life to Enjoy What You Really Care About. I’m more frequently upgrading our Freddy and Eddy website, and at the same time bursting with ideas for Our Urban Farm.
3. Giving up my fast food cravings is a BITCH! I decided to minimize MYSELF (as in weight) and get healthy, so I swore off fast food for a few weeks. I’m dying for Jack In the Box Tacos and was tested last night at Kaiser hospital (we had to run Mom to the ER, which turned out to be fine) with a Del Taco within yards of its entrance. Argh.