Minimalism is something we’ve always done. But things sneak up on you. Like the way we’ve never owned a TV. Didn’t matter though. TV finds a way. First Heroes became the most popular show to be available on the internet. Then came Hulu, Netflix on Demand, Amazon. TV found it’s way into our home and started taking up all our free time even though we had made a conscious decision to never own a TV.
When Sunny and I first got married, we moved into a one bedroom, four hundred square foot house, and we shared it with two birds, a cat, and a Spanish teenager. The kitchen was a hallway. Everything fit. And we kept things pretty minimal. Next, we moved into a two bedroom apartment, and we still kept things minimal. We had a few roommates come and go, and when there wasn’t a roommate, the room was empty. So when we moved into a twelve foot diameter yurt, anything that didn’t fit in the yurt could easily be stored in half of a two-car garage.
Before buying our house two years ago, we lived in a studio apartment. It was filled with stuff, but it was tiny, so it really wasn’t much stuff. Looking back, we could have gotten rid of some of that stuff, but we kept it just in case we might need it when we bought a house. And some of that paid off. The lawnmower, for example.
Then we bought a one thousand square foot house. Huge! Two bedrooms, a full (mostly unfinished) basement, a garage. Even though we knew we didn’t want to just fill the space we now had, two years later, we have a lot of stuff. We like to think we have less stuff than most people, but I’m not sure. Certainly we have less stuff than our parents, but they’ve had a few more decades to accumulate things.
We’ve been inspired to minimize. Generally, when Sunny and I make a decision, we jump on it. Moving to Minnesota. Boom, we moved. Buying a house. Done! Having a baby. We talked about it for about a week, checked our finances and started trying for a baby. Turns out we didn’t have to try too hard. So now we have a nine-month-old baby girl and a house in Minneapolis. Next is minimizing. And we’re starting by playing a game suggested by The Minimalists.
During the month of September, we’re each ridding our lives of the number of items corresponding to the date. So on the first, we each got rid of one thing. On the second, two things, etc. The first thing I gave away was a martini shaker. It was a gift from Sunny, and it’s made of blown glass. So, it’s pretty, and it holds sentimental value. But, we don’t drinks martinis, so we haven’t used it in years. Gone.
Today is already the ninth, so we’re about a third of the way through this month. So far it feels very freeing. The house feels less cluttered. I feel like I’ve been given permission to get rid of things that haven’t really wanted to keep for a while. Somehow we ended up with eight martini glasses. Gone. Parmesan cheese grater, gone. We rarely even eat cheese anymore. Old, worn out underwear that sat at the bottom of the basket; an unopened package of binkies; my old cell phone.
We’ll see if it still feels like a relief as the month progresses and we get into the double digits. By the end of the month, we’ll each have gotten rid of 465 things. At least September only has thirty days. Almost one thousand things will no longer be our responsibility at the end of the month. Right now, I feel good about that.