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Minimize to Maximize

A friend recently mentioned she was proud of herself for cleaning out her closet and donating three bags worth of clothes.  I found this ironic since I had just started reading Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalist by Fumio Sasaki. We discussed the many challenges of shedding the weight of material possessions and the difficulty of getting rid of things, for fear you might need it in the future.

Several years ago I saw the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo at Half Price Books. I almost bought it but thought, wait, I am trying to get rid of things, why would I buy a physical book? I should just get a digital copy.

Here is the main problem with hoarding. You own something and you don’t know it so you buy it again. This nearly happened to me with this book. I went to buy it on Amazon and I found I already owned the digital version!

I have over the years discarded and donated many of my carefully hoarded possessions. But I have also carefully squirreled away things I “might” need in the future. After the conversation with my friend and reading Goodbye, Things, I found a renewed since of getting rid of things and working towards a more minimalist lifestyle. I think though I need to make a new category, minimalist hoarder, this is someone that hoards but does it in a neat and tidy way and only hoards necessary items. 🙂

But why is it important to minimize? Because “things” have a way of weighing you down, either physically or mentally, or both. From a practical standpoint, it takes time and money to clean, maintain and store “things.” Storage facilities are popping up all over the place. These are places to store your things, so you have more room in your house…why? So you can acquire more stuff! Don’t fall into that trap. If your home is overflowing with stuff, get rid of the stuff.

Getting rid of things, and I mean more than one or two items, gives you a since of being lighter, more free.  You can find things when you need them.  It’s easier to clean when there is less stuff laying around. In a grander sense you can get up and go as you please. Work is easier to do when there is less clutter. Any designer will tell you that white space is an important aspect of design. If your space is so full of stuff you can’t see white space, it’s hard for the mind to relax, it’s hard for the body to relax.

In honor of trying to get rid of things, I worked on cleaning out my email, which has thousands and thousands of emails.  I also unsubscribed to six retail marketing emails. This might seem like a small step but believe me, this is big. I love a good deal and the thought I might miss out on one because I don’t get their email anymore makes me a little anxious.  Over time, if I unsubscribe and clean out my email a little at a time, I will soon have a manageable inbox that doesn’t take 20 minutes to load. Minimize to maximize!