As a confirmed pack rat and project collector, I have made it a goal this year to downsize and use or get rid of the pile of projects collecting in my spare room. Much of the piles of broken furniture consist of repurposing projects and are my own doing, and others were left on my doorstep by various people trying to “help me out.” Thanks Guys. Some of these loved ones far and near are more famous than I for collecting and storing junk, and nothing could be more poignant nor speak more volumes than a plastic fork packet from Wendy’s that I swear was from 1952 found among the relics.
Their reasons for collecting stuff were valid ones, such as the various types of equipment needed by a professional photographer, (as one of these benefactors has been low these many years), to rare and expensive cameras and even a beat up tarnished old trumpet. So many of these things I have used and needed. But a side effect of not having money, is that you tend to hoard things. That is the problem. Currency, comes from the root word “current” and that means stuff has to flow in order to come to you.
Every time I see the broken bentwood chair, I think, its only a LITTLE broken, and begin to imagine how I could use it as a table or maybe re-glue and brace the back part. A nice glass top and voila’ the seat is flat enough to use for a lamp table, and even now it is making a great support for my desk. Art supplies in the closet, sewing notions and necessities from my days as a seamstress, and broken furniture take up space that I cannot otherwise use. Oh, and don’t forget the little unopened packages someone gave me that contain fall leaves, of the type you would expect to see stapled to the bulletin board in a 3rd grade classroom- too cute to throw away, and too corny to have a real purpose.
So I have to ask, “Can I live without all this junk?”
I asked Tammy Strobel who writes the “Rowdy Kittens” blog, (you will find her blog here: http://rowdykittens.com/), who many know currently live in their lovely new tiny house, (you can find pics of it at the link above), if they missed having stuff.
“No, I don’t miss anything. I have everything I need in the little house. For a long time I thought I “needed” more, like a bigger house, an additional car, and more stuff. I don’t feel that way anymore. By having less stuff to worry about I can give more of my time to friends, family, writing, and volunteering,” she told me.
Sounds awesome! The stuff I have is not only taking up space, but it is physically and emotionally draining to have to work with and around to use my small house. The toll then is not only financial, but it is not a good investment of my time. I simply do not have the energy to keep this junk.
Minimalism is not just a word to describe getting rid of your stuff, it is a valid form of art, music and architecture of the 60’s and 70’s. Of course the most famous among those designing in architecture would be Frank Lloyd Wright. His motto, “form follows function” is a declaration that turns architecture INTO art, (and art back into architecture).
One of the benefits of minimalism is that you feel a greater sense of peace when there is not clutter around you or things that need to be maintained. It is less expensive, too. Have you ever paused to consider how much money you are spending to house things compared to their monetary worth? Why should I spend my time making money to keep plastic knick-knacks from my local Walmart? I am from an art background and I appreciate beautiful things. However, I would pose the idea that a thing must have some real value in terms of aesthetics or usefulness, even MULTIPURPOSE uses in order to be worth paying to store or house. And too, in our computer centered existences of the modern age, we are spending more time doing things online and have less time to worry about our homes.
I have made it a goal this year to simplify and downsize. Many others are getting on board with this idea, (including those aforementioned here), for benefit of our health, both physical and mental well being.