2015 means less stuff to hate

One of my many goals this year (including resurrecting this blog) is minimising and simplifying my life.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I want to become a “minimalist”. I’m not lusting after empty walls, counting everything I own, or planning to only wear black from now on.

Not that I even think minimalists do that.

Ever since I realised just how much I hate my stuff I’ve been slowly but surely chopping away at all the clutter that surrounds me and purging it. I came across a great quote recently that really resonated with me: That which you hold holds you.

The truth is that having the stuff has been more of a burden than a reward. Any clothes I buy I have to wash, knick knacks have to be dusted, books have to be stored, and on and on and on. What a nightmare it has all become. Like the ring. Not the ring where the creepy girl crawls out of the TV (that’s an entirely different nightmare), but Frodo’s ring. Carrying that little ring is such a massive burden for him and that’s exactly how I feel about my stuff.  I need to take it to Mordor and be rid of it forever.

That’s not to say I haven’t already come a long way. I might not be traipsing into Mordor just yet, but perhaps I’m at the Black Gate. Here’s what I’ve managed to oust in the last year and 10 months since writing about this the first time:

  • All of my childhood toys/stuffed animals. My previous neighbours had a young daughter and one day I asked the mom if she would be interested in them. To my luck she was and poof! They were gone. Not only that but I was able to see the daughter playing with and enjoying the stuffed animals on numerous occasions, so not only was I unburdened, but they were fulfilling their purpose again. That felt nice. Like in Toy Story. Aw.
  • All the cables/wires/plugs/phones of old. Those things that I didn’t know what to do with but didn’t want to throw out? I finally sorted through them all and took them to a recycling depot.
  • Clothes. So many clothes. Ridiculous amounts of clothes. I got rid of them. I donated so many bags I couldn’t even fathom a guess at the number. I don’t know how I even managed to amass as many as I did considering I have never been much of a shopper, nor very fashionable. In fact I spent 4 years pursuing a dance degree where I wore sweatpants to school every day and was asked what the special occasion was if I was wearing jeans.
  • Miscellaneous items I can’t even remember. Things that sat on shelves collecting dust, extra sheet sets, blankets, etc.
  • Several pieces of furniture.
  • Books… the hardest to part with. I took about 85% of my book collection for donation. Along with the three bookshelves that were their home for the last few years. Actually I wrote an entire blog post about this but never got around to posting it. Although I love my books and it was painstaking to part with them, I’m glad they’re gone to be read by new eyes. All that remains are a few favourite novels, my poetry collection (which I’ll probably never be ready to part with) and books that I have yet to read.

It all comes down to time. I want to spend more of it on the things I love and less of it fretting over the mundane chores on my to-do list.  Now it’s just about being certain that I love everything I have, and that everything brings something positive to my life so that it is worth the effort to maintain. My main goal is to ensure there’s absolutely nothing wasting away in a box in a closet. Everything I have, as William Morris would say, should be either useful or beautiful. That’s why I’m keeping the dogs. Not only are they beautiful, but they help keep me warm on those horrid winter mornings where I just don’t want to get out of bed.

Lastly I’d like to send a belated Happy New Year to everyone. Thank you to those who might still be reading this, you are all amazing.

46 thoughts on “2015 means less stuff to hate

  1. Ah, this blog reminded me of what I think our last conversation was, some number of months ago, when we talked about balancing time with the demands of life as regards blogging. The quote you mentioned, reminded me of this:

    “The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.”
    ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

    I remember sharing that quote with someone, and telling them that I believed the Papa Roach song “Between Angels & Insects” was inspired by Fight Club, whose lyrics start out like this:

    “There’s no money, there’s no possessions. Only obsession, I don’t need that s***. Take my money, take my obsession… I just want to be heard, loud and clear are my words. Comin’ from within, man, tell ’em what you heard. It’s about a revolution in your heart and in your mind. You can’t find the conclusion, life-style and obsession. Diamond rings get you nothing but a life long lesson and your pocket-book stressin’. You’re a slave to the system, working jobs that you hate for that s*** you don’t need. It’s too bad the world is based on greed. Step back and see, stop thinking about yourself, start thinking about…”

    Anyways, glad you are back Taerah!

    Ry

    1. Yes that quote from Chuck Palahniuk is another favourite! There is so much out there whether it be art, music, dance, etc that talks about this but I think for the most part people are just not listening. Although I suppose the minimalism movement is gaining some traction (however slowly). Sometimes I wonder where it was that the western mindset shifted to owning more is best/living in such excess just because we can… it’s a strange world we live in. But I’m rambling, and probably not very coherently as I just woke up.

      Thanks for the comment, you got my brain started this morning 🙂

      1. You’re welcome, and you were plenty coherent! Much of actual conversation could be classified rambling, I think, if we’re honest about the free-flow nature of it and the lack of carefully filtering the thoughts we speak without committing to carefully editing them for clarity beforehand, as we often do online. So it was a more natural, non-formal comment, rather than a ramble.

        My brain-to-mouth editor defenses are often not as raised early in the morning as well, like everyone pretty much, but then again, I do not filter my thoughts in comments all that much anyway, no-matter the time of day or my mental alertness.

        But yes, I agree, a strange world we live in, full of strange creatures with strange behaviors, whether the hoarding nature of human westerners, or the seasonal self-destructive cliff-diving habits of lemmings!

        “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.”
        — C.S. Lewis

    1. They really do. Someone close to me is sacrificing their energy and happiness just to hold onto objects that own them.

      And yes on the time. The most valuable thing we own.

  2. Hi. Thanks for the ‘like’ on my other blog, which brought me to yours, but I’m going to follow you from here as it’s from here that I follow a few poets and I really appreciate what we might call your ‘minimalist’ poetry. I only write three liners and I like the discipline of the 5-7-5 haiku so only pen those, when something motivates me to do it from time to time. With you on the declutter; I’ll soon have an enforced stay in home and will start on the paper – rain forests of it. Do I really need bank statements going back 10 years? Thanks again.

    1. Hi! There really is something so lovely in three liners and the 5-7-5 haiku. I love how the form delivers so much so succinctly. It’s also fun to write them and agonize over the right words. I guess I’ve always gravitated to the idea that less is more.

      I’m looking forward to reading more of your work 🙂 Thank you for visiting my blog.

  3. The sooner the better. Start young and then do it all your life. Wish I had taken this advise decades ago. Now the decluttering is an endless activity.

  4. I’ve always called it ‘skip therapy’, giving away or recycling unused possessions; life is better when it’s uncluttered on many levels. The greater challenge is then to give away the things we most cherish without regret. I have practiced skip therapy for decades and could not live any other way.
    Great post and good luck 🙂

    1. I’ve caught myself a few times in search of something only to realise I donated it previously without even noticing. No regrets yet, probably because I haven’t been brave enough to part with certain items… even though I don’t need them.

      I like it, skip therapy. It certainly is therapeutic to release ties to material things. Thanks 🙂

  5. Aren’t you worried that the 20th century parent devices of the cables and wires and plugs you got rid of are going to resurface and demand your undivided attention someday? Apparently I am because I know just the box you were talking about! I’ll muster up the courage eventually. Continued good luck in the New Year!

  6. Good luck! After you commented on my post, I came to read yours… and its great! Its crazy how we cling to THINGS. Things from childhood, clothes, everything you mentioned! I loved your movie/book references as well. Keep up the great work and keep us updated!!

    And i agree 100% that books are the hardest thing for me as well. I love to read, and have a bazillion of them. Plus, unless they are in phenomenal condition or this week’s best seller – they probably aren’t going to make you any money selling them. But I’m starting to figure.. hey.. if I haven’t touched them after I read them for a year or so, let someone else have the possibility of enjoying them!

    http://laughupmysleeve.com/2015/01/22/cut-the-crap-my-minimalist-beginning/

  7. hey, this one gets to me because I can’t fathom how we’ve managed to amass so many things. and to think i won’t lug them home when we leave the desert. I salute you for having the courage and determination to give away a chunk of yourself. and i understand about not wanting to give away your books and poetry collection. thanks, too, for liking my post on http://desertmoonmusings.wordpress.com

  8. Gah! I feel the same way these days. Clearing house, physically, emotionally, spiritually. We allow too many unnecessary things to weigh us down. Love your blog, btw. Happy to have found it. x

  9. Part of my Lent this season is tossing, giving, and otherwise removing stuff and clutter. All the extra is like sin, a burden to be shed. I’ll be busy and at it for a good long while but each thing gone feels wonderful.

  10. What you described doing in this post is the definition of minimalism – I wouldn’t short yourself the admirable title of a minimalist! It can be defined in many ways. Cool blog! Cute dogs 🙂

    1. Thank you! I guess I feel like I need to let go of some particular items before I can call myself one. In the meantime I just call myself a wannabe.

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