Categories
Decluttering Empty Nest Minimalism

The Process of Pivoting

What do you do when you can do anything?

That is the situation in which I find myself. For the first time in my life I am free, completely free. I can go anywhere, do anything. The road of Life is wide open. All I have to do is pick a direction.

It feels overwhelming. I’ve spent my entire life burdened with obligations both real and imagined. To realize that they’ve all disappeared…I’m not sure how to feel about that.

This was why, as the waters rose in their routine surge, that a part of me wished that it would wash my house away as well. It would be nice to have a completely fresh start, I mused as I watched.

But I don’t have to wait for a disaster to have a fresh start. I’ve got one already. As for the stuff…I do believe it is time for a pivot. Minimalism is perfect for pivots, because it allows us to cut the crap from our lives. It makes it easier for us to change direction.

So I tossed some stuff. There’s a cabinet and some empty totes sitting upon my front porch for a friend to collect. Another friend has been offered the bicycle. Other items were deemed too ratty to pass on so they’ve been put in the trash.

“Are you going to have anything left?” One friend asked when she came by to collect some of the things.

But I didn’t just focus on physical things. Mental clutter can be just as burdensome as physical clutter. In some ways, it can cause more damage because it affects us emotionally. All of those old grudges and resentments really build up in time. They can turn us from happy people into miserable, hateful old cranks.

So now, whenever one of those memories surface that trigger a negative emotion, I work to eliminate the negativity connected with it. If I find myself getting stuck in a negative emotional loop, I make myself stop by focusing on my breathing. In, out. In. Out. It’s not like a normal meditation where you turn into a pretzel while staring at your navel. This is something you do wherever you’re at, no outfits, ommms, or twisty poses required. I find it much more effective than traditional meditation. I can’t sit still long enough for the standard stuff.

And whenever I find myself wanting to acquire a specific item, I ask myself what purpose it would serve along with other related questions. Those questions helped me to realize that the only reason I wanted to acquire a record player and a VCR was to revisit a piece of my history. But the past is dead so why bother?

So I discarded the plan to purchase a record player and the VCR. I even placed the tentative plan to purchase a stereo system on indefinite hold since I’m not sure if I really need one. My entire music library is stored upon my computer and selected playlists are synced to my phone. I use my soundbar with both my computer and my phone to play my music and I’m more than content at the sound quality, so do I really need to buy more stuff when I’m content with what I already have?

In this world if we’re not growing and changing we’re dying. Just like with trees and plants, in order to achieve the strongest growth we have to prune the branches. After the pruning, it is time to sweep that old away. We have a new future to look forward to.

What can you prune today?

~#~

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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Categories
Decluttering Frugality Housing Simplicity

Downsizing

I decided to see how to live in a much smaller space.  In our 2-bedroom home, one of the bedrooms is 8 x 10 feet with a built-in dresser. The other is 12 x 12 feet.

My daughter has had the little bedroom since we moved here, swapping out her numerous toys and keeping her pets elsewhere in the home.

I decided to surprise her by switching the bedrooms.

This is a challenge.  My bedroom also doubles as a storage room and the smaller one must do double-duty as well.  This should give me ample incentive to downsize.

So this morning I removed everything from her room and started placing my stuff within.  One wall was perfect for my shelves so it was completely lined, floor to ceiling with my personal items and the extra stuff we haven’t managed to part with yet. To conceal this I took a piece of wire and some hooks to hang up two white sheets—it totally changes the look of the room!  Even though the space is smaller it actually looks a bit bigger somehow with all of the white. I wonder what that room would look like if I painted the walls white as well? Give it a combination of minimalist/shabby chic look or something…

I didn’t think to take any before photos but I took some after photos.  The room is not decorated yet, but I wanted to give an idea of what I’ve been doing. 

I am hoping that not only will my daughter enjoy the much-enlarged space (I even put the guinea pigs in her new room), but that I will learn more about myself.  I am already trying to figure out a way to obtain a twin-sized futon pad—anyone in Western KY want to trade a twin futon for a full?

Honestly, I only use my bedroom for storage, reading and sleeping.  I spend most of my time in the kitchen on the laptop so how much space do I actually need? If I managed a futon frame I could put it in the living room as a couch and allow that to serve double-duty as my bed.

Anyway, here are the photos:

 This is the view from the doorway.  The light is a wall-mount and a bit glaring.  That big white fabric wall is hiding floor to ceiling shelves (mismatched of course!). It looks kinda neat in there with all the floaty white fabric, especially where I used it for the curtains as well.

This is my full-size futon folded up in thirds for daytime storage. I would love to have a twin-size one, small enough to fold and put away like the Japanese are famous for, but right now a Japanese shiki futon is out of my budget.

This is from the  fabric wall looking toward my closet.  I am really thinking of painting all of the paneling in this house white to brighten up the place!  White on white would be a fascinating look, and if I got sick of it at least I would have a base coat already down. ?

This is the little built-in dresser.  There is a LOT of wasted space above that built-in and I don’t have so much as a mirror to fill it with.  I’m thinking of scavenging some old wood I have outside to put a small shelf or two in all of that space. For the moment those old crates will have to do (sigh). Sorry about the light glare.. Next time I will try to take pictures while it is still daylight outside!

Overall it looks pretty good for a day’s hard work!  Almost all of my stuff fit, though I am placing a shelf in the living room that was a bit much for the small area!

I will keep you posted on how I cope with such a small bedroom though I must admit—so far it feels like a good change!  Just today I eliminated several boxes worth of items and consolidated some more, making for a bit less junk than I had…

On a sad note, I stumbled upon the papers from my mother’s death several years ago.  I took about an hour to go through them, reading the statements (she was killed in a car accident in December of 1992), looking at the photos and the picture of the officers freeing her from the car after the accident (it made the front page even so I have that article).

What do you do with stuff like that?  I detest that memory.  I was 22 and she was my last surviving parent. I want to take that bag and burn it—and the memories with it—but what if Katie wants it when she is older? I really want it out of my life, but Katie is only 10 and too young to understand what it contains.. What do you do in that situation?  Every time I look through it and my father’s papers I just sit and cry, but I gather I’m under an obligation to keep this stuff for Katie for when she grows up—but she never met them—she was born many years after they walked this earth. I’m just torn by the entire subject.  A need to eliminate things that trigger painful memories and an obligation to pass things on to their grandchildren.  What would YOU do?