As Anthony mentioned in a previous post we are currently on a 10 day vacation. Last night we packed our things to start the trip back home. One thing became apparent as I repackage my things, I overpacked. As I was organizing my things repacking then there was many items I hadn’t used in the last 10 days. I like to be prepared but let’s be honest I do not need 3 different face lotions.
Tomorrow we start the minimalist challenge. I am challenging myself to find out what I really use everyday and what items are just taking up space because I “might” need them. The minimalist use the 20/20 rule: Can the item be replaced in 20 minutes for less than $20? If yes there’s a good chance I do not need to keep it if I do not use it every day.
Before I watched the minimalist documentary, our minimalist starting point, I had already discovered why my wife and I lived the way we did, with so much stuff. My grand parents lived through the Great Depression. Over the next several years, consumer spending and investment dropped, causing steep declines in industrial output and rising levels of unemployment as failing companies laid off workers. (History) I feel like the children that grew up through this wanted to provide for their families and wanted their children to have what they did not. Thus, the baby-boomer era gave birth to a sense of collecting, gathering, and a need for more. I remember my mother and father telling me once that when they were married, my mother would buy tons of groceries because she didn’t want our family to be without food in the cupboards like she grew up with. “Baby boomers were collectors,” says Elizabeth Wainstein, 50, owner and president of Potomack Company Auctioneers in Alexandria, where lots of unwanted family treasures end up being sold. “They collected German porcelains or American pottery. It was a passion, and they spent their time on the thrill of the hunt.” She says younger people aren’t really that interested in filling shelves. (Washington post) I can recall when I was a child, every weekend, we would go to Wal-Mart and my parents would buy me a new star wars action figure. It seems like there wasn’t a time that we went to a store and I didn’t get anything. My parents just bought things because they could, because they wanted the best for my brother and I. However, My parents were raising spenders.
Once I got a steady job, I bought a new-ish car on a loan. I got my first credit card and almost maxed it out on a new radio for my car. (You know, one with a sweet touch screen) Unknowingly, I signed myself up to be just another slave to the credit card companies. I’m hoping that with our new lifestyle, with buying less, my wife and I will pay off our debts and live a simple life. I’m hoping to break the spending habits my parents gave us as we grew up.
Paige and I are on a 10 day vacation with her parents and grandparents. I packed only essentials. My clothes, some medicine, my phone, watch, and chargers. Also, I couldn’t forget my sunglasses because we are going to be at the beach most of the time.
This week, I’ve been thinking back to the things I have at home. Just sitting there taking up space. This vacation has really shown what we use on a daily basis. Starting on the first, we are going to be doing the minimalist game where you get rid of one item on the first day, two items on the second day, three items on the third day and so on. I’m very excited. This will give us a clear view of what we actually find true value in.
It’s been a while since we were introduced to minimalism. Since then, we’ve been slimming down the items in our house. We took a car load of items to the local Salvation Army. It was mostly things we were just hanging onto for the sake of having things; old gifts, duplicate items, etc. It was exciting to finally see the floor in the office.
I discovered that I was unhappy with about 90% of the clothes I owned, most of which didn’t fit right or were stained. I found that I really love the shirts my work gave me so much, I ordered the same brand and size online, five plain black and 3 plain grey. With only two choices, it really reduced the stress of choosing what to wear. I still have my “for when” clothes like my two suits, one grey and one black, and a couple nice dress shirts for church and special occasions. I think it’s pretty important to be happy with 100% of the clothing items I own. My wife thinks I look like a cartoon character because it looks like I wear the same thing everyday but I like it. It helps with the laundry too. Because I don’t have as much excess clothing items, it’s easier to stay on top of laundry instead of just letting it pile up because I still have a whole closet full of clothes I’ll never end up wearing. This has been such a relief.
This past week I watched the minimalist’s documentary on Netflix. I found it to be inspiring to live with less. I like the idea of owning and doing things that make me happy. I think back to a pair of pants that I own. They are a size too small and I keep them around so I have some options of things to wear in case my favorite jeans are in the washer. I keep thinking about getting home and throwing those jeans out or taking them to the Salvation Army. I want quality, not quantity. I want everything in my house to bring me joy. I will likely keep listening to the minimalist’s blog on iTunes. I want my house to be decluttered. I’ve always liked the clean look anyways.