So much has happened in the last few weeks–we have a lot of catching up to do. So let’s start with the Great Declutter.

Last year marked my first major attempt at decluttering the house. This year, however, we left no stone unturned. Something in this systematic process felt gratifying; a small step towards minimalism could easily change my life, if I give it a chance.

I started upstairs in our bedroom and cleaned out 20 somethings t-shirts, tank tops and jackets. I explored every nook and cranny of our bedroom from top to bottom. I handed over several pairs of jeans, dress pants and pjs. I also donated accessories, such as hats, scarves and gloves and quite a few pairs of socks and shoes. Some of this stuff I’ve had since high school. It’s time to let it go.

Next, I moved along to our computer room. I cleaned out a slew of cords that I don’t even know what they go to. I worked on the living room with its book shelves and trinkets. It pained me to pass on so many books, but it had to be done. Then I focused on our kitchen, the bathroom and the hallway closets.

In total, this took several hours. By the end of the day, I was wiped. When we first got our house, I was eager to expand into large, empty spaces. To fill the house with stuff. We were used to living in small corridors; the last three houses we lived in were roughly 900 square feet. But now we have 1,600 to play around with. And God forbid we have free space in this house.

The next day, I worked on the den, the meditation room, the guest room, the laundry room, Keegan’s bathroom and the closet. When it was all said and done, we had so much stuff to get rid of.

For a moment, I considered a yard sale and laughed. I do not have the time or the energy to orchestrate such an event for pennies on the dollar, literally. Luckily, the Arc is just down the road.

The final frontier was the garage. It’s a shame I didn’t take before pictures, because it appeared an absolute disaster. From our dried out 2016 Christmas tree (yes, 2016) to the dozens of empty cardboard boxes and the gardening supplies, camping gear and tools strewn about, the final result was beautiful. We collected a ton of trash, paid the garbage man a generous tip to collect all of our shit and made another huge pile to take to the Arc.

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You can actually see the floor now!!

I’m beating myself up for not taking more pics. This one doesn’t do our efforts justice, when it’s all crammed into garbage bags and boxes, packed tightly in the back of his truck. This pic doesn’t capture all the trash we threw away or everything piled up in a crazy heap before we packed it. At any rate, this year we got rid of so much stuff. I’m grateful to have not married a hoarder and to not to be too attached to material possessions.

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This feat points to the larger theme of the year, which is to do less with more focus. And what better way to focus in your home than to get rid of shit? By the end of this year, I hope to exemplify what it means to live more simply: To have less, to spend less, to do less, and to need less. I’m still learning more about what it means to live “minimally”, but that’s one of my many aims for 2018.

30 is looking good so far. As long as I work on my goals consistently and little by little, I am confident that my circumstances could appear very different by the end of the year, ranging from physical health to spiritual matters. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

The great declutter represented my discomfort in letting go of some things I’ve held onto for years but haven’t used. I’m referencing this practice as a larger “life” metaphor: If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you, and letting go of the things that no longer serve you allows more room in your life for what could be of great benefit in the future.

Here’s some useful information for anyone interested in minimalism.

https://www.lifestorage.com/blog/organization/how-to-live-minimally/

https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/seeking-simplicity-how-to-start-living-a-more-minimal-lifestyle-210936

https://bemorewithless.com/begin/

My beef with most of this advice is how it all mainly focuses on the materialistic clutter. No mention of mental clutter or feeling obligated to accept more and more responsibilities at work or in your personal life and certainly no mention of how minimal living does not necessarily equate more vacations. In fact, it seems that most blogs end with, “I spend less, so I can take more vacations”, which is nice to a certain degree. But then again, one must eventually ask themselves, why so many vacations? What exactly are you running from? And what are you trying to prove?

I’m blessed to live a life I don’t need a vacation from, as evidenced by our move from Tennessee to Colorado two years ago, but I know that’s not the case for everyone. My bottom line? I’m interested in less of everything this year, and that includes vacations. I’m reaching this point in my life where I’m ready to quiet my mind and focuses intensely on my goals.

Anyhoo, here’s this: