Minimalism

Room for things that matter more.

(One and Three Chairs, Joseph Kosuth)

Two or Three  years ago I started becoming a minimalist and I didnt even realize it.  I was an occasional reader of Real Simple Magazine and came across an article that really spoke to me.  It was by Gail Blanke, called “Throw Out Fifty Things.”  Thankfully, Gail went onto bigger and better things and is now a personal motivator and turned her article into a book, which I own and review frequently.

Long story short, I have WAY more things than I need, even after I have done several sessions of “Throw Out Fifty Things” in one year.

You do too.

Usually I start with my closets – do I even WANT to wear that?  CAN I wear that?  Now that our closets are pretty under control, yesterday when I started a new purge, I had to start with the nitty gritty.  The back of the bathroom cupboards.  Here’s what I got rid of:

1. Empty boxes (contact boxes, cosmetics boxes, ring boxes, etc.)
2. 2 old make up bags
3. 5 things of eyeshadow (as much as I tell myself I’d like to try new looks, they’re never me.  My face is better as a clean slate)
4. 2 cloth baggies
5. Hair spray that I never use
6. Lipstick holder
7.  Hair brush that I never use
8. Make up brushes that I dont even like
9. Broken Soap Pump
10. 2 things of immature nail polish
11. Shower gloves – gross
12. Traveling soap container.  All hotels have soap.
13. Lint roller
14. Axe body spray
15. Pair of broken hair cutting scizzors
16. Perfums I never use
17. lipsticks that I dont like
18. 2 mini lotion tubs I got for free one day.  Clinique must not have wanted them either so why should I?
19. 2 blush containers
20. books from bedroom bookshelf
— these have been here for over a year.  If I ever did want to read them, I could find them at a public library for free, then give them back and not have the clutter on my shelf.
21. many bathroom accessories
22. 6 towels that we dont like
23. Bottle of half used aloe vera
24. Past-dated sunscreen (yes, it looses its effectiveness)
25. Metal can that was holding lots of this “stuff”

And MUCH more.

That took me about 20 minutes and now everything in my bathroom is something I will actually use and can see. (**If you notice in my list, multiples of the same thing only count as 1 of your 50.  If you have 3 things of blush you are getting rid of, guess what, technically that only counts as one. But if this is your first time, start however you can)

I have started getting excited about a minimalist blog by Everett Bogue, author of a great new e-book, “The Art of Being Minimalist” (you can read the first 30 pages for free here). He takes it to the next level – instead of throwing out only 50 things, he actually only owns just over 50 things.  (Read about what he actually owns here: http://www.farbeyondthestars.com/57-things/)

I am motivated by both and want to end up somewhere in between.  I wont be denying myself the convenience of a small dining table or a bookshelf with some books that have changed my life, but I wont be keeping things that just fill up space because they are there.

By getting rid of physical “stuff” I am making room in my mind for things that matter more.

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9 thoughts on “Room for things that matter more.

  1. I hope this approach will work for you when you start having kids. That’s when it’s hard….especially when they become teenagers!!

  2. Great job Tammy! Did you just throw them away? Or can you freecycle the unused stuff? (our moderator’s kinda super rule follow-y so I don’t want to get in trouble for posting something that’s “not allowed”)

    1. Thanks for asking! I should have clarified. All of the used toiletries were thrown away of course, but boxes/papers etc were recycled and all usable items (clothes, books, purses, etc.) were all donated to Deseret Industries – a charitable resale organization that supports job training for less fortunate and handicapped individuals. I also feel great getting rid of things because, say, an old purse that just clutters up my closet could be someone else’s treasure 🙂

  3. Tammy Tam, you are amazing. I need to be a little more minimal. I’m SO sentimental that it’s hard. The other day I found a movie ticket in my pocket and almost kept it, because it was a date me and Chris went on. Like, recently. Not some special date while we were dating and he told me he loved me. And not even from a particularly amazing movie. So, I admire you a TON for being able to do this. And you’ve motivated me. I’m throwing away 50 things.

    1. Erin, I have a solution for this! Dave helped me come up with it this weekend since I am sentimental too. I’ll be writing about it today 🙂

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