Too many socks. 

I’m gonna stop buying socks for myself.  Why bother?  My mom likes to buy me cute socks when she see them and this is the result:


24 pairs of socks, a single with no mate (and not pictured, a pair of dress socks).

I live alone. Do I need this many socks? No. 

The number one thing that homeless people need is socks.  And I have 25 and a half pairs. 

I’m getting rid of 10 pairs of socks (too funky to donate).  The next time I’m at the store I’ll buy a few packs of brand new socks in different sizes and take them to the shelter.

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More to donate 2

My mom decided she wanted my crappy Target bookshelf from the spare bedroom *shrug*

2.  I’m giving away my bookshelf and donating most of my books.

I used to have TWO of these towering bookshelves crammed full of books, most of them two deep. 

Wanna know a secret?  I don’t really read that much!!

Why do we keep books?

When I moved into my current place, it took my SEVEN trips just for my books.  Luckily I lived in the same city.  But I had my books shoved into every nook and cranny, all the way up to the ceiling in my car.  My bumper was scraping the pavement.  Seven trips.  Never mind unloading and bringing them in.  And to be honest, back then I even thought it was a pain in the ass.  Why am I doing this?

  I think I liked to have them because they made me appear smart and knowledgable.  “Don’t trust people who don’t own books,” is a saying I hear a lot.  I used to work in a library.  I wanted to show off my collection.  

How pretentious.

Donate : 33 book, coloring books and 3 art pads. Also donating my dragon puppet.


Keep: 4 favorites, 5 non-fiction that I’m constantly using, 6 art pads and 4 coloring books.

Here was my spare bedroom yesterday-
And today. For now I’m keeping the books stacked on the floor.  I’m too stinking tired to figure out what to do with them today.

MORE to Donate 1

I have had a VERY BUSY weekend.  This is going to be another long-winded post because I am exhausted, I have severe Decision Fatigue and I’ve been going non-stop for the last two days (hey, when you’re feeling it, go for it!)…..

No I changed my mind I’ll just make a couple of posts today.

I think I’ll kind of number each “section” so we don’t get overwhelmed.

1.  I went through my art supplies.

I’ve been putting these off.  Art supplies are a touchy subject for me.  Long story short, when I was in high school, early 20s, I was going to become a professional artist.  I had scholarships to a school and I was going to work for an awesome studio and illustrate all the awesome animated movies that come out. 

Then life got in the way, I wasn’t able to go to art school for personal reasons, I drew a bit for commissions, but was working three jobs at once and going to regular university school full time and was in an abusive relationship.  Then I stopped drawing full stop.   (That was the short verson!)

Anyway, I had a lot of art supplies, all still good, sitting in drawers being useless.  This minimalism journey has really changed my mindset.   

I used to be, “I can’t get rid of these!  What if I need these some day?”

My mindset now is always “What if someone else could use these and love them?” 

I’ve started considering others when I’m going through my stuff.  


I guess it wasn’t too bad.  It had been much worse.

I started with the Sharpies: 


I got a piece of paper and checked that every single one worked well.  The iffy ones were thrown away.  I kept one of each of the fine tip and a big fat black one.  The rest I donated. (I made sure that I made a note for them that all of them worked and these would be great for artists)

67 donated

18 toss

38 keep

—–

Next up was the pencils.  Dear god, the pencils!  With a few exceptions, these were all Derwent and Prismacolor:

Four sets of Derwent tins and a box of miscellaneous
A box FULL of pencils

I donated ALL of these but one Derwent Studio set and a few miscellaneous graphite, charcoal and white.  I did the same thing as with the markers and put a note with them.  I think an artist would be jazzed to have them.  Most of them hadn’t even been sharpened and had brand new tips on them.
294 Donate

3 toss

40 keep

—–

Next up the paint and junk box:


Most of the brushes I kept, and I kept the Faber-Castell pastels, black and white paint, varnish and the little pallet. 

This is what I kept.  EVERYTHING now fits in my artbin container.

And the DONATE:

More to donate

I think I’m going to say this a million times.  And that’s ok.

Unless you already lived minimally,  the journey to minimalism is NOT EASY.

I underlined and bolded not easy for a reason.  If I could make it size 150 font I would. 

This process is hard, tiring, sucks, sometimes I want to give up, but really it’s worth it to me.  I know I’ve been posting a lot but I’ve been on a roll.  When you’re on a roll, go with it!

One of my prior posts I talked about getting rid of the roll top desk in the spare bedroom.  Here is where it used to be. 


Of course I had stuff in the roll top desk that I had previously sorted through but I decided to sort through it again.  It’s gotta go somewhere.


Here’s what I decided to get rid of: 


(Bonus, doll armoire)

I think I could have done better than this.  Most of the stuff I just scotched into the closet.  Getting rid of the desk (and the chair!) was a tough decision for me!  I still have a long way to go, but I know I’ll go back to the other items. 

I moved the chair and little table over from the other side of the room.


Now it looks like this:


As a reminder, here’s what that area looked like in March this year. (Also note how much stuff is on the bookshelf.  Eventually I would like to get rid of the towering bookshelf)


And here’s my end result today.

(Bonus!! The middle of the room is nice and empty!)

Ancient selfies

Do you ever find old photos of yourself and think “who is that?”  

What about selfies you took?

My minimalism has started to go toward the “electronic” portion and I’m starting to clear out all of my ancient (for technology) photos! Old abandoned blogs, photobuckets, memory cards, email archives, you name it.  I’ve been finding some interesting things….

I stumbled across these.  Most of these are about 10 years old.  What do you think these selfies say about my 23 year old self?  I’ve never been one to force a smile, and I’ve always hated my body.   But this is a person who was hiding behind make up, hair dye, and FILTERS. 


OMG THE FILTERS!


Some of the photos had filters and then they were filtered AGAIN.  Just in case too much of me might show.


This is a person who, when I look back, I was kinda cute.  I’m definitely not a hideous person.  Why did she (10 years ago me) feel so ugly and such a need to hide herself from the world?  Even hide everything that may have been going on around her?


Part of why the minimalism process can be so hard is you find old things that remind you of who you used to be.  It can bring all those memories back, whether they’re painful, joyous, awkward, etc.  Sometimes you’re just not ready for what you may find, hidden under the layers of stuff (yes, even digital stuff is stuff).  Sometimes it can bring a lot of things to the surface that really needs some soul searching that people just aren’t ready for.

Part of my minimalism journey has included some self acceptance that I didn’t even think could happen!

I’m going to delete these old photos of 10 years ago me.  That me doesn’t exist anymore.  I don’t plan on showing a filtered person to myself or the world.

(Me tonight, tired from a long week, no makeup, no dye, no filter.  But still a little fuzzy because my iPad is a bit dirty 🙂

Donation time again

My curio cabinet was so loaded with stuff and so heavy that it was starting to pull the L-brackets out of the studs in the wall.  I kept hearing it creaking.  One night, as my tiny little dog was sitting right in front of it, I heard the thing pop as it pulled even farther from the wall.  Luckily, it didn’t crash onto my pet and didn’t cause too much damage to the wall.  

It did make me accept the fact that I have TOO MANY tchotchkes, too many gewgaws, too many knick-knacks, too much decorative crap!

I can get rid of clothing, furniture, crafts, why cant I get rid of these tiny decorative useless things??

I started by emptying out the curio cabinet, taking it away from the wall and yanking its feet off.  It should be safer if it’s flat on the floor.

The dangerous furniture and the little dog

I made a pile of the decorative things and found what I absolutely did want to keep and put it back in.  

Here’s the rest which didn’t make the cut:


Some of these things are “heirlooms,” things that belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother, but they’re not really old or meaningful, and to be honest, I didn’t actually LIKE them that much, other than the family connection.  Then I decided to yank the Chinese brass off the wall in the bathroom.  And put the foul ball I caught at a pro game I went to a few years ago.


Then I went through my closet and filled a bag with clothes.  Might as well put the hangers in too.  The Harry Potters are going.  A humidifier, two vases, a mirror, a unicorn glass thing, another wall decor, a Betsey Johnson purse, and other misc.

I’ve been reading Fumio Sasaki’s “Goodbye Things” (downloaded for free of course, I no longer buy books) and he said that if you think about getting rid of something 5 times, you should just “discard” it.  I don’t discard items if I can help it but boy do I donate.  I’m enjoying reading his story.  He has a gentleness and a vulnerability that I like, and I’m liking some of his points.  

He has a list of “55 tips to help you say goodbye to your things.” 

My three favorite tips are: 

#8. There isn’t a single item you will regret throwing away.  This for me has been true. 

#14. Take photos of the items that are tough to part with.  I’ve been doing that with this blog each time I make a new donate pile and it has been very helpful!

And #16.  Our things are like roommates, except we pay their rent.  DING!  I LOVE this way of thinking!
I think this will also be donated. I’ve thought about donating this FAR more than 5 times.  Growing up I always wanted a roll-top desk.  I imagined sitting quietly journaling, thinking deep thoughts. I sit on my butt at a desk all day long, the last thing I wanna do is be doing it at home.  And I’m usually at the dining room table if I want to write anyway. 

As you can see, it also needs to be completely sanded down and painted or stained.  Yuck.

 So goodbye roll-top desk, I’m not paying your rent anymore.

Donate 2018 #4

I talked myself into donating my old Singer sewing machine.  It was actually my local thrift stores fault, they had posted an industrial antique singer on their Facebook and people went gaga for it.  So, I hope maybe they can go gaga for mine too and it will go to a good home. I also donated the Ouija board and I got rid of the bullet (didn’t donate, threw away).  Three things that I thought for sure I could never let go of!  

I also decided to donate the longboard.  I never quite got the hang of riding it, I’m too clumsy.  I figure someone will love it though.  I also donated some old books!  

All that stuff in the background are items from my last few posts.  All the clothes, household items and fabric.  

It took me and two other people about 15 minutes to unload all this stuff out of my SUV, I had that much.  

I’m ready to start moving onto a new chapter of my life.  


I think at this moment I’ve donated roughly 80% of my previous belongings.  I’ve decided I’m going to continue with my “no shopping” and take a break from all this donating. 

Sorting through my items and analyzing everything all the time can get a little exhausting. I don’t want to get burnt out and fed up.  I plan on taking a couple of months off (from donating) and just focusing on the items I already own.

April No-TV month

Last month was a No-Buy month where I went a whole month without buying things (mostly lol).  This month I have decided I will try to go “No-TV.” 

Yes.  A whole month without the boob tube.  I will most likely fail miraculously.  I might even go insane.  I’ll probably be productive, sure.  But I might go insane. 

I don’t have regular shows I watch, and I don’t have cable or anything.  I was almost at the end of the first season of Versailles on Netflix, but I’m sure in a month it will still be there. Still, television is my way to unwind and shut my brain off for a little bit (I am constantly making difficult decisions at work all day).  I’m sure I will have some… Interesting posts the next few weeks. 

Sorry in advance.  

“This is my brain off TV.”

For my first night I decided to Konmari through the dreaded fabric. I’ve been putting this off for a LONG TIME.  I was kind of… Worried to go through all this fabric.  Craft items I think can be some of the hardest things to go through.  All those projects not finished, put off or even started!  Failed ideas! Wasted money!

Now, I’m not a quilter.  I don’t sew human clothes.  But! I did used to make clothes for BJDs (ball jointed dolls).  My very expensive dolls have been sitting in their boxes in the closet for… A few years (I’m embarrassed to admit that).  I have 4 dolls that haven’t even been PAINTED yet, let alone had clothes put on them.  


I can’t really explain why I stopped with my BJD hobby.  There were a lot of reasons. I think maybe it was getting too expensive, time consuming… I had been making and selling clothes.  I also was modifying dolls and selling them.  When you’re starting to get commission customers, your life gets a little overwhelming.  I had a few customers who were… Very demanding of me, even if I told them this is my hobby, not my business (and I have a full time job and a house to run!)

About three years later, My mom also decided to get into this hobby and for some reason tried to make it into some sort of competition on who could sell the most doll clothes (I know, stupid right?) so, I lost my drive, it wasn’t fun or “mine” anymore. The dolls were shoved in their boxes and the vast quantities of fabric forgotten in a closet.

I’ve been wanting to get back into this hobby.  I won’t do commissions, nor do I plan on making my hobby fodder for someone else’s ego.  I decided it was high time to focus on the fabrics I really liked, and maybe I can get some neat ideas in the process.

Here’s my fabric shelves before: 

A flipping mess without any rhyme, reason, or organization.

I also had two drawers full, AND a remnant drawer.

Fabric
More fabric
Remnant fabric
I started off really strong.  I managed to make a pile taller than my dog (which is easy because she’s short).

Then for some reason I started getting panicky.  Fabric is expensive!  What if I need to use it later! Some of this was my grandmothers!  Should I really get rid of this??

Then I realized some of this stuff I just didn’t LIKE. It wasn’t cute to me. It would be a pain to find ANYTHING that matched. Some of it I bought for projects for EX’s (that I never got around to making).  I didn’t like how it felt, etc. 

I added more to the pile.

The donate pile!

As I was sorting through the remainder I decided to keep, I was actually getting outfit ideas! Art ideas! Finally after all these years! 

Here is my after result:

Much better! Organized!

I did end up salvaging the elephant book ends which were destined to be donated, but I can always donate them later if I decided to.

Empty bottom drawer and scarf

I managed to empty the bottom drawer (this will be donated) and found an old scarf I forgot I owned mixed in!  I will donate this too.

Fleece drawer

 I kept the fleeces so they can be cut up into kennel blankets for my dogs.  Their blankets usually need to be replaced every 6 months so me “finding” this fabric actually will save me money in future, as I probably would have just gone and bought more. 

The remnant drawer is still a mess.  *shrug* Can’t be perfect.

I’ll be taking some of my donation fabric (fleeces) to the humane society as there’s two volunteers there I know that make cat beds and dog blankets (I volunteer there too, periodically).  The rest will be going to my senior center, there’s a local quilting group that quilts for charity.

(If anyone was curious how I get my fabric to stand up, I buy comic book boards in packs and wrap my fabric around them! Fabric then slides neatly onto a regular bookshelf)

March No-Buy Conclusion

After a bad start this month, I am pleased to say that these last two weeks,  I have purchased nothing! Other than food, which I kinda need.    

My first week really was hard for me.  I can’t really explain why.  I usually don’t do hardcore shopping anyway. I’m not a shopaholic.  But yes, if I see something and I want it bad enough and it won’t mess up my monthly budget, I’ll buy it. 

It might be partly because of my job as well. 

I have a stressful job.  Very stressful.  Hundreds of people depend on me each week.  

However, I get paid pretty well for what I do (pretty much the only reason why I’ve stayed so long).  There are many days that I see something I want and I do say ,”I deserve this,” and I kinda do because I’ve busted my rear end each day.  Sometimes I think, “why am I doing this every day if I can’t get what I want?”

I actually want to get away from this way of thinking.  

I have zero intention of quitting my well-paid stressful job.  

But I do want to get away from buying THINGS with my paycheck. 

Today, I spent the day with my family. I bought one thing.  Milk, to go in a quiche. We  went for a really long walk to Mars and then barbecued hot dogs.

Space Pugs on Rover Mars

Just kidding.  This isn’t Mars. It’s just a short walk from our house.  See there’s still a tiny bit of snow on the hill? 

Anyway, the buying one thing (milk) and hot dogs bit was true.

And we had a lot of fun! Just being with each other.  Getting outside.  Breathing fresh air.  Being a human without consuming.  

I’ve been thinking a lot this month on what I want to do with my money.  Will I buy things in April?  Probably.  I didn’t set aside this huge list of anything to buy after my “no-buy” month was over.  I might buy a new pillow for my neck at night. Maybe. Buying stuff just doesn’t seem important as much anymore.

I want to have days like today, hanging out and eating with my family.  I want to travel a bit. Maybe I’ll look into retiring early.  Or I’ll just shove it all into savings.

But I just don’t want to buy anymore.

Why I became a minimalist

My minimalism came from pain.

I’ve been meaning to share my story for a pretty long time on here.  This is a long post.

If anyone bothers to read and is maybe in a similar situation, I hope maybe me writing this can help.  Even if it’s just one person.

There’s a whole lot of stereotypes out there about minimalism.  And most of them are pretty darn negative. 

Some are understandably so.  If you google minimalist lifestyle that’s all you see.  I’m just going to spout out words.  White, privileged, rich, middle class, millennial, hippie, no-waste, traveler, living in a backpack, homes with no personality, etc. (and btw, none of these words or lifestyles are BAD).  But you can hear the disdain for minimalists and minimalism in their posts and their videos.   It’s misunderstood by non-minimalists.

I do think that minimalism gets a pretty bad rap, and it’s a true shame.

Unfortunately, I don’t think people always give the how and the why to their minimalism. 

Do some people fit into they stereotypes? You betcha. 

Do some people become minimalist because it’s a fad? Yep.

Do some people do it for shallow reasons? Uh huh. 

(Again, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this either)

I’m here to talk about MY experience and how it came from a place of pain.

I think to give a better picture of who I am and my upbringing might help.  I’m not writing this as a woe-is-me piece. I only think that our upbringing has a serious correlation to our relationship with things and as I’ve gotten older I’m very much aware of it now.

My parents divorced when I was very young so I grew up with my mother during the week and my father during the weekend.  Both were well below poverty line.  

My mom due to her terrible childhood was and is a hoarder.   Her apartment was always crammed full of things.  She would dig through my trash and end up keeping everything.  I was taught growing up that you keep EVERYTHING.  No matter how insignificant, dirty or useless it was, you kept it.  I remember when I was a child I had boxes floor to ceiling piled up in my room on two walls, none of which was my stuff.  Nothing was ever considered mine.  In the living room, the couch only had enough room for my mother to sit. If I wanted to eat or watch tv, I had to remove a pile off of a broken chair to sit, then put the pile back once I got got up.  There was no such thing as a clear surface.

My father considered himself a minimalist and always beamed with pride that he could put all his things in a backpack.  However, he was a severe alcoholic and homeless quite often. He lived in a trailer in his ex’s backyard (not my mothers), and often he had no heat, running water and definitely no blankets or a place to sleep.  The few things he owned were the most precious things to him, but since he was an alcoholic he was unable to see the filth around him.  He taught  me that if you have a useful thing you NEVER let it go no matter the state it’s in.

I never actually understood my parents way of thinking but just accepted it as that is what was normal for me.

After I was able to legally leave both my parents residences, I drifted for a while and moved often.  Since I was a child who grew up in rather bad surroundings, I always had an idea of what my perfect dream home would be so I accumulated things to try to emulate that idea.  And I mean I ACCUMULATED.  Lots. Of. Things.  My fantasy self.

A few years later, I fell in love with someone. HARD.  We lived together.  He co-owned a pawn shop and brought home a TON of interesting things.  Antiques, things he thought I’d like,  Projects for me to work on, constantly (on almost a daily basis) bringing home more stuff.  He and I were together for 6 years, he proposed, we were planning on buying a house together (and actually had put an offer on a house).  I bought two cute decorations that represented us that I was planning on putting in our new house once we closed escrow.  Then my ring “disappeared” while I was cooking dinner.  Then he’d disappear for days.  Women I didn’t know would show up at the house.  He was stealing from me.  Telling my family lies. One night, he got violent.

I didn’t have enough money for the deposits or the pet deposits (and there was no way I’d leave my pets with him). I had to get a loan and I got the biggest one my bad credit would allow.

I moved out in a matter of two days.  I somehow managed to move my massive hoards of stuff (only forgetting a set of comics).  I wasn’t about to leave my stuff, I was taught that things are important and you never get rid of them, even if leaving a possible dangerous situation.  I made sure that I kept every little thing that he brought home for me.

A month after I moved out, my job cut my hours.  I was broke and alone, but at least I had all my things.

I was crushed.  I put the two cute decorations that I bought for “our house” in a closet. I couldn’t look at them but I couldn’t get rid of them either.  I was still trying to recover from our break up. In a year, I was feeling a little better about things and pulled them out of the closet.  I still thought the decorations were cute and maybe I was ready to put them up in “my house.” I sat and cried for about an hour.  I put the decorations back in the closet.  They represented too much for me.

About 6 months later, I was moving things around in the closet and the two decorations fell out. I happened to be in a bad mood that day, emotional and still working through my break up.  I took the decorative things out, put them in the car and drove them to a donation center.  The man looked at them and said, “They still have the tags on! Are you sure you want to donate these?”  

I grumbled YES at him and he told me “These will sell quick!”

I know it sounds cheesy but there was a rainbow on the hill as I driving home.  I felt SO RELIEVED.  I got rid of something that represented failure and pain to me.   I kept all these things because “that’s what you do” but It literally HURT me to go through these things because each one stirred up a memory and made me realize just how fucked up our relationship was the entire time we were together. I felt PAIN remembering the shady things he did (he brought home presents and “projects” to distract me from all the cheating he was doing) but I felt GUILT about getting rid of things because my parents taught me that you keep everything no matter what it is.

The pain ended up winning over the guilt.  

Over the next few weeks, I got rid of (donated) more things that he brought home that gave me a feeling of pain.   And then some more.  I felt psychologically better each time, slowly processing all that pain and the item attached to it.  I got my hours back at work. I paid off my loan I got so I could move.  I decided to keep going through my things that I had accumulated through the years.  That fantasy self that never came to fruition.
Every time I thought of getting rid of something that nagging guilt instilled in me by my parents would rear its ugly head.  I always imagined my mothers face and her screaming if she found out that I was donating an extra waste paper basket or orange peeler (this truly happened).  I realized I needed to work through my painful experience growing up with my parents too.  I was now my own person and hadn’t lived with my parents for well over 15 years.   My happiness in MY home and MY life was the most important thing. 

I started looking up minimalism and I liked watching and reading about people’s struggles with letting go.  We aren’t always just letting go of things.  We’re letting go of what those things represent and our psychological attachments (and sometimes damage).  

I’ve been working on this for about 5 years now.  Slowly but surely.  Well over half the things I accumulated are now gone.  I miss none of them. Some of those non-minimalists ask me WHY I would spend/waste so much time going through my stuff.  Because in my experience, some things are attached to pain.  I want to let that pain go. I’ve never give myself a time frame in which to do this.  It is WORTH IT to me to work through this pain.

As I’ve had less painful things surrounding me, I’ve been able to focus on other parts of my life I’ve always wanted to. I decided to donate duplicates, things I no longer liked, things that no longer served me. I started to focus on my health a bit more and my education. I realized I already had a wonderful, clean, safe and tidy home that I enjoy being in.   I already had the fantasy self home I wanted.

Has minimalism fixed all my problems? Nope.

Made me rich, turned me into a vegan world traveler with only my laptop and 30 articles of clothing? (Here’s some more stereotypes- and again nothing wrong with this) Nope.

I don’t fit in with minimalism stereotypes.  I don’t own a laptop, I don’t wear designer clothes or have a capsule wardrobe, my bedding isn’t white, I don’t compete in fitness competitions, I’m not zero-waste, I own a gas guzzler car and I’ve never been out of the country (yet).

(My wallsare white though because I live in a rental, I do yoga sometimes because I get a sore back and I am a white middle-class female, and I’ve busted my ASS to get here- I’m just playing around with the stereotypes here, it’s all in good fun)

I do get a little defensive when someone tells me how “stupid” minimalism is, or when they tell me I’m doing it “wrong.”  It upsets me when my motives are questioned or someone tries to lump me and others into a stereotype.  It upsets me when some tells me I’m involved in a fad.

Minimalism has been a THERAPY TOOL for me to work through my personal demons.  I’ve used other tools as well, but this one so far has been one of the more obvious and effective.

I intend to keep going until I feel it’s right FOR ME.