Box Girl

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To be perfectly honest, I haven’t always embraced minimalism. You would think that, living in three different apartments in three years, I would have embraced minimalism much sooner. In truth, my family has a bit of a history of hoarding. My great-great-uncles were hoarders. They had two houses for all of their stuff, and their backyard(s) looked like a stereotypical movie junkyard. After their relatives cleared out all of the trash they found World War II Jeeps buried underneath the piles of stuff. My mom has 17 boxes of Christmas ornaments and has a sixth sense for knowing if a single ornament has gone missing. Naturally, when I moved out of my parent’s house I had quite a collection of stuff. Every birthday/Easter/Christmas/elementary-school-lunch-box note and card, every art project I had done since kindergarten, my mom sent it all with me when I left. And I lugged them around from my first apartment, to my second apartment, to a storage unit. All of this stuff ended up in a 5’x5’ storage unit stacked wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling since there was nowhere to put them in my current apartment.  I had no idea how to throw them away.

In my recent purging (and elimination of my storage unit!) I found my own trick to letting things go. My biggest problem with throwing things away was if it was a gift. I have no problem getting rid of stuff I bought myself. Once I realized no one was going to be coming and inspecting the apartment for the gift they gave me or the card they wrote me 15 years ago, I could drop that shit like it was hot. They probably didn’t remember giving it to me anyways. Boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff were instantly gone.

My darling Tristan has moved me from apartment #1, to apartment #2, to apartment #3/storage unit, to storage unit #2 after my first unit was hit by a truck. Actually we had only known each other for about a month when he helped me move the first time, so now he will forever remember me as “Box Girl.”

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9 thoughts on “Box Girl

  1. I have hung on to stuff, that I thought had some value and seen them in the thrift store for around $1. So, I’m trying to get excited about getting rid of stuff and visualizing a lean, clean home. Best wishes and God bless.

    • I definitely had a lot of clothes and stuff I always hung on to because it might be useful someday. What helped me was looking at whether I had actually used [X] item, let’s say tennis rackets, and if I was going to use them in the next month. Truthfully I will probably never ever take up tennis, so the tennis rackets go. It’s easy to imagine how you would use something, someday but in my experience there is a gap between fantasy and reality.

  2. My wife and I are in the process of becoming minimalists. The hardest part has been getting rid of things that people have given us. We have decided (that once we do to our family members) we will offer the stuff to them if they want it. Not every items but definitely the bigger one! We also are taking pictures of everything and saving them on our computer! Someday it will be cool to check them out I am sure.

    • That’s great! I wish you luck on your journey. Gifts are always difficult for me and sometimes take a few attempts before I part with them. Moving forward, I would like to follow the lead of my future mother-in-law. Rather than material gifts she always asks that people donate to charity in her name. It’s a very noble gift and there is no worry about what to do with [X] object once it has outlived its usefulness. I’ve also heard of people photographing things such as heirlooms that they no longer want. I think that’s a great idea 🙂

      • It has worked for us (so far) I know we are going to get to some things we have a really hard time parting with, but so far it has worked. That has been another topic that has cropped up, what to do about gift giving. We really don’t want anything for the holidays, how do we tell people that without offending them?

      • People ideally should not take offense to your decision. There is an interesting letter explaining minimalism to relatives here: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/dear-loved-one/

        Consider asking them to donate to charity in your name. Charity Water is a good one or any other cause you may feel strongly about. Or consider activities as an alternative to physical objects, like dinner with the friend or relative or seeing a movie together. That way they can still give you a gift without giving you more stuff.

      • I have found that letter and have it saved in our armory for when we do have the talk. Coming from a family that puts such a value on “things” it might be tough and I really am afraid they could take offense.

        I like the idea a lot of “doing something” with them as a gift, or donating to charity. Great advice!

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