next time you decide to minimalize your wife’s football shaped jello molds that she was planning to use for your son’s birthday party... don’t!
Elizabeth Turner says
I am a tumbleweed. I’ve never owned a home. I’ve been on the road for 10 years, not with an RV. I’ve been gone from my travel trailer which is essentially a suitcase since Thanksgiving 2019. Nothing in my home state has been open for me to use due to the coronavirus. So I’ve sheltered in place in a timeshare in another state. I’m going back May 31st. It’s been 6 months gone. I’m in a little car. I pretty much hit a bullseye with what I’ve needed. I keep a self inflating mattress in case I sleep on someone’s floor. I have water shoes and a life vest for floating around since I can’t handle a kayak any more and neither can my car. I have layered winter clothes, black, hiking boots,, snow boots with cleats,, and a walking stick. I’ve taken notes on books and thrown the books out. I have 3 books besides the Bible. One anomaly. I counted. I have 19 swim suits because I wear one everyday of the year and because Costco was selling them for $12.99. I know myself. I keep them for a decade, now 18 of them are black. I stopped underwear a long time ago. I have papers with me so I can do business when I need to.. So am I patting myself on the back? No. Let me tell you about before when I downsized too slowly.
I only approached my travel trailer twice a year. I only had a few days each time, probably doing taxes and opening a lot of mail. I discovered I was emotionally attached to things. The 10 swimsuits I wore when I got a hysterectomy in 1998 which kept me pain free were threadbare after 10 years. I was able to get rid of an outdoor fireplace I had to take apart to move and solar panels impossible to move. But it wasn’t until i realized i had to be more drastic that I got more drastic. I love kitchen appliances but did I need 13 crockpots and a rice cooker? Fortunately, the women in the domestic violence situation needed everything. A rescue ranch for dogs had an annual auction and they took everything too! Now the Lord has told me not to give anything else away. My girlfriend gave me her copper deep pan last year and a rice cooker this year she no longer needs. I gave her a swim suit. #20 didn’t feel right.
My advice, downsize faster than I did. The last time I downsized I took inventory. I know what not to buy. I pack everything in Costco cold bags. I need 2 but I’ll wait because I know I have 4 in my travel trailer. I don’t have any emergency food in my trailer. I’ve been eating it during the coronavirus. I’m pretty free but I could have done it faster. The only thing I ever regret giving away was a choilla cactus lamp with scenes of the Grand Canyon on the shade. It was $15 in 1973 when I lived there 4 months and worked at Babbitts General Store and preached on Sundays. That may show up in a thrift store who knows? I’ve bought several Armatele pieces at Goodwill. I had to give mine away in 1985 as the Lord was sending me overseas. It went to Harvest Evangelism. The donation man’s mother had a unique gift store and I told her what each was worth per Armatele. Life is not over, things are not irrevocably gone. If you want them back, they can be found.
I’ve been wondering about this as I read your blog from the beginning — sometimes I get the impression that you were a little reckless in your decluttering because I read so many instances of you filling up trash bags (rather than donating items) and never seem to write about including your wife in the process.
I’m grateful that I don’t have to deal with a spouse throughout this process — it’s hard enough when my daughter’s dad happens to come over and notice things in the donation bin. Sometimes he’ll claim items for himself :-) On the other hand, I’ve let my daughter slowly join the process on her own schedule. I used to ask her to find 5 things in her room to get rid of and she would mostly come out with random broken toys, paper scraps, gum wrappers, etc. I accepted those offerings and continued with my decluttering, with the happy result that she now voluntarily gets rid of toys and books that are in good condition.
Out of all the items I discarded over the years, only 3 were missed and easily repurchased.
I’m just reading through your blog from the beginning, so I’m a little late…
I’ve been renovating for almost 2 years and the mess has gotten to me so much, I’m purging all my stuff now that we’re pretty well done.
The other day I was working through the kitchen and had a pile by the door. My husband came home and freaked on me that I was getting rid of some canning pots and cake pans. Neither of us has ever canned in our lives and he doesn’t bake…but he was insistent that he wanted to keep the canning pots because it was on his list of things he wants to try. I’ve had these pots for 20 years and they were my mothers before they were mine. In order to keep the peace, the pots are staying and the pans are going. It’s such a fine line to tread when one of you is ready to minimize your stuff and the other isn’t.
When you mess with someone else’s kitchen, keep the purged “garbage” boxed up someplace until it passes the time test. I can’t remember what the most popular time test is, but a year is reasonable for just about everything. (Turkey roasters at least fall under the special case of skipping a year, especially if yours was an expensive or vintage type.)
My jello mold collection is also wall art. I can be a little less precious about the “living” aspect because most pieces are in the category of if I lose them, I can re-collect them easily enough.
I am enjoying reading all your posts from beginning to end (in case you are wondering how come I am leaving a reply for a 2008 post :) )
I admire you for taking this on, and for minimalizing everyone’s possessions in the process.
I went home to Romania a few years back and while there, decided to organize my mom’s pantry. See, my mom is in the “everything you might need in the kitchen” business, so you can imagine what her kitchen cabinets look like.
I finished everything in about 2 hours, the whole kitchen, and kept some basic rules, like the most used pans, even if in terrible shape, keep them, keep one more or less of the similar ones, and get rid of items that you can only use for one thing.
It looked great, so great that you could feel the energy moving with so much more ease.
Well, my mom had a completely different reaction, even if she was very into the idea when I started.
She burst into tears… and at that point I was so confused.
I was visiting after a long time, my mom was crying, I could not take things back, they were long gone to the dump… so I started talking to her as much as I could, trying to fight the “what the hell!??!” feeling.
I was so humbled to understand her pain. She came from a poor family, with 9 brothers and sisters, she didn’t have much when she grew up… To her, accumulating all that stuff was comforting, it meant success, it represented her work of a lifetime.
I am the opposite really, and have been ever since I moved out of my parents place and started creating the space for being myself, but having lived in both worlds, Eastern Europe, and USA… I understand her.
I learned to let everyone take care of their own stuff. I support them, encourage them, guide them… and that way they make their own progress real.
Ok… back to reading.
Isn’t it weird how opposite we sometimes are to our parents? I hope my baby boy doesn’t become the opposite of me… well, not in the anti-stuff way. I definately don’t follow in my parent’s fashions… Anyone else experience this?