Remember my May Jump of the Ladder Challenge? Well here is my before and after:
I started with 10 boxes and an assortment of things. I finished with 3 boxes, two sleeping bags, and a little basket.
How I did it:
- Crafts: Consolidated my craft supplies (recycled bottles, downsized yarn) into one box and moved to a new home inside the apartment.
- Old School Notes: Went through 2 boxes of school notes. Recycled everything that was irrelevant to my field. Put all relevant notes together with relevant textbooks in bookshelf.
- Camping gear: Consolidated 2 boxes into one large box. Threw out unusable things.
- Gardening supplies: Used pots to re-pot plants. Got rid of large tote and put small gardening supplies and seeds in a tiny basket.
- Keepsakes: 1 tote, no change.
- Christmas/Halloween: Got rid of pointless decorations (pine cones, a flameless candle with no batteries…) and consolidated all of the holidays into one box.
- Miscellaneous: Found new homes for things (with friends, Goodwill, etc.)
I was able to get the closet looking good within a week, however finding homes for things took a bit longer. I procrastinated a lot and had stuff rolling around in my car for about two weeks. Gotta work on not losing steam after the initial excitement! So yeah, not nearly as dramatic as my April challenge but still a success!
So yesterday marked the beginning of round two of the Jump off the Ladder Challenge. For round one, I gave up eating at restaurants for 20 days and had some amazing benefits. This time I’m tackling our balcony storage closet. This is where the things that I haven’t purged from my storage unit ended up, sitting, collecting dust for months. There are 10 boxes, stacked 5-6 ft. high containing the following:
- College lecture notes
- Camping gear
- Gardening supplies
- Craft supplies
- Christmas decorations
- Graduation caps, gowns, cords, and various other memorabilia related to school
- Odds and ends
My goal is to reduce the clutter by 50% or more. Most of the stuff in this closet hasn’t been touched since January, and since it has been in neatly stacked boxes I’ve never bothered to go through them. But I’m tired of clutter and our apartment management is looking to eventually put a washer/dryer unit in that closet, so this stuff has got to go. I plan to eliminate and consolidate so when that day comes whatever is left can find a home inside the apartment without any trouble.
To the average person, simplifying your possessions seems like it would be counterproductive in being prepared. If you’re getting rid of those items intended for some obscure purpose, how could you possibly be prepared for everything? Well first, I think that minimalists and frugal people can be much more resourceful than most. They are able to find a single item to fulfill multiple uses. Second, they are more prepared to cope when life throws them something unexpected.
Let me explain.
Tristan’s parents live in your stereotypical two story suburban house with a cluttered garage, filled to the brim with stuff. His mother is a firecracker, I love her to death. Although she is approaching retirement age, she has just earned another credential in special education and shows no signs of retiring. Ever. She loves her job, and she loves to take on projects (of late they have revolved around redecorating the house). Recently, she fractured her back in a horseback riding accident. His father is not in great health. He is not able to help around the house much, and his health requires constant care. Around the same time as his mom hurt her back, his dad tripped on a garden hose and broke his rib.
With the double onset of these injuries, the house became less of a sanctuary and more of a source of stress. Neither of them could clean, sort, organize, or take care of the garden. They are embracing the idea of simplifying and decluttering, and all of the benefits of owning fewer possessions. After witnessing the burden that possessions can place on people, we are now more determined than ever to live simply so that if something unexpected happens, we have less stuff to worry about!
Thanks to Project 333, my closet has undergone a dramatic makeover. Sadly, I did not have the foresight to take before photos, but I have taken the liberty of superimposing Microsoft Paint fueled dramatizations of my original closet for your viewing pleasure (click on images to enlarge).
The left side of the closet.
The right side of the closet.
What I got rid of through Project 333:
- Project 333: Day 1 (myminimalistwedding.wordpress.com)
I’m thinking of doing a Friday Rant series. Seeing as I pretty much detest everything related to the Wedding Industrial Complex, I’ve got lots of ammunition. So in honor of today’s post on “I Just Want It To Be Perfect,” I will be ranting about wedding registries.
First, I think wedding registries are outdated. Sure it made sense to register for housewares 60 years ago when people were moving straight from the family home/university dorms/bachelor pad into cohabitation and a shiny new unfurnished house. But please tell me, when was the last time you went to a wedding for people who had never lived on their own. Regardless of whether you have been “living in sin” or not, chances are the parties being wed already have homes with blenders and wine glasses and towels and bedsheets. Why on earth would you need MORE of these things?
So I definitely prefer the idea of a honeymoon fund instead of gifts. Rather than cluttering up the newlywed’s most likely small apartment, why not contribute a lasting memory they might otherwise been unable to afford? Or contributing to saving for a down payment on a house? That’s something practical! I hate giving/receiving gifts where you’re all like, “Oh wow… uh… thanks!” and pretend excited because then everyone just feels crappy. Or writing fake enthusiastic thank you cards. Cash is never a bad gift. Ever. It doesn’t show thoughtlessness, it shows you actually care about what the recipient would want. And you’re not cluttering up their life with unneeded “gifts” they feel like they can’t get rid of without offending you.
As for those detractors of things like Honeyfund or cash gifts (see the God-awful The Knot Etiquette boards), y’all can just f*ck off. If you’re hell-bent on giving a gift out of propriety rather than from a place of caring and unconditional love for your friend/family member/tribal deity/whatever then just DON’T BOTHER. I would rather have nothing than a resentful “I did it because I had to” gift.
Besides, Emily Post doesn’t give a sh*t.
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.”