Further Elimination

I am still inspired by The Happy Minimalist. As a result I managed to thin down even more.

Like a lot of people I have a lot of things I do not need.  Some of that stuff (a lot of it actually) falls under “why did I buy that in the first place?”

Two more pairs of jeans, some outdated computer books, a phone book that never gets used, some craft books, a crock pot (I had 2) and several other items have been sacked up to go to my sister’s.

The futon mattress has been placed in the closet for when company comes.  For now I think I will sleep in the sleeping bag.

I found that I have unnecessary duplicates of a lot of stuff, and those duplicates are slowly leaving. I am even passing on the stainless steel skillet that goes with the rest of my cookware.  It hasn’t been used in years since I started using a cast iron one.

It is rather hit and miss as I purge these items. If I am the least bit nervous that item will stay—I do not want to push myself harder than I am ready to go.

My closet has been thinned out considerably yet I still have a lot of things that I enjoy wearing.  I have yet to thin out a single item that I actually wear other than some of the jeans cause the cut looked horrible on me and I have several others that look nice and are still comfortable.

It feels good to know that I don’t NEED all of this stuff around here. To know that I can get by with less and still be happy.

Right now I am curled up in one of those heavyduty folding chairs that store away in a bag.  I have had this thing for several years.  It is comfortable and has survived a lot of abuse. I sit here in my much smaller bedroom with the laptop on my lap.  The only electric devices running are the refrigerator, an LED nightlight in the bathroom, an LED desk light in here, my router and this laptop. The LED desk light uses 1.5 watts of electric.  I do not know how much the LED night light uses—it is one of those that doubles as a small flashlight that comes on in the event of a power outage.

I was getting low on towels so I washed them despite the rain.  I am using a clothesline placed in the hallway to dry them. This way it is no issue if the rain continues for a day or more, and I am still not using the dryer.

To my surprise I  have not had the desire to fire up the kerosene heater this evening.  The laptop on my lap has generated more than enough heat to knock off the chill.

To move to this home, I sold my couch, loveseat, bedroom suite and Katie’s oversized bunk bed. By doing this I avoided having to beg people to please come move me, help me carry this.. The two moves before this ended with me hiring a guy off the street to help with the heavy stuff the first time and begging a friend the second. 

This time, with the exception of the refrigerator, washer and dryer—I moved everything in my van.  It took multiple loads but overall was not that bad.  I could have lay the big appliances down in the back of my van and hauled them that way but I had a volunteer with a truck and did not refuse the help.?

My friends considered me insane for selling most of my furniture (well, technically I traded it off for this trailer) but I considered it smart.  If I can’t move it, I honestly don’t need it.  I can move the appliances with a dolly, but the things that take two people to maneuver just HAD to go.

I am thinking that instead of a refrigerator that a small chest freezer and a large cooler may serve my purposes better than what I have (and use less electricity). Not much actually gets stored in the fridge honestly.  When I get meat, I freeze it individually on a pizza pan before transferring it to bags for individual portions without the packaging expense. Figure if the big companies can do it, why can’t I? I would have more room to store things that I actually use, like meats on sale, with less room to house things that normally go to waste here (a.k.a. leftovers). Two-liter bottles could be frozen and used to chill the contents of the cooler, exchanged on a regular basis with fresh ones from the chest freezer.

I have no intentions of getting rid of my refrigerator and buying a small chest freezer—that makes no practical sense when I already have a refrigerator, even if the freezer on it is smaller than I would prefer.  It is something to consider for the future, especially since small chest freezers are almost half the price of even a small refrigerator!  I have no idea how old this little fridge is, though it looks fairly new, so it is nice to plan for the future a bit.

If I could go a whole year without my dryer I would sell it and not look back. I’m sure that thing has contributed substantially to my past electric bills. People the world over do without clothes dryers and they survive just fine.

I would have to make small changes, use lighter blankets instead of heavy comforters, especially in winter when they would take a long time to dry indoors—but if I’m sleeping in a sleeping bag that point would be moot.  Katie’s bedding is small enough not to be an issue.

Here I am rambling about what I think I can do without.  It is almost midnight here, contributing to the diarrhea of words tonight, sorry.

I’ll go to bed and leave you to your life. Good night, good world!

The Happy Minimalist

Yesterday I read a book by Peter Lawrence titled “The Happy Minimalist.”

Sixty minimal pages of distilled knowledge. I questioned the price of the download but curiosity won out. 
It was worth every single penny.

Peter lives a drastically Spartan life, with a lawn chair for seating, a sleeping bag for a bed, minimal tools and cookware but a full life living as he pleases. His electric usage? A measly 2 kWh per day.

After devouring his missive I hit my closets and thinned down a bag full of items I have not worn in ages.  These will be passed on to my sister.

I mastered cooking rice on the stovetop using the absorption method, so my rice cooker is going to her as well. Also included in that will be a heavy stainless steel skillet that I do not use in favor of the two cast-iron skillets I use for everything.

Last night I even flipped the switch to turn off my dsl modem before going to bed. Flipped the power strip for the cordless phone as well. Seriously, my phone is a MagicJack, turned off at night when the computer is shut down, so why keep the phone powered on? If it were not for mobility I would eschew the cordless phone in favor of a lower-energy corded one but we all must make decisions on what we will actually use.

Last winter I used a sleeping bag instead of my full sized futon because of the extra warmth that comes from being snuggled into one.  I pondered his choice to use one full time when it occurred to me that sleeping bags are the Western World’s version of the Japanese futon.

Instead of unfolding that heavy futon I snuggled down in my sleeping bag last night. The puppies were confused but still faithfully curled up next to me. To my surprise I didn’t toss and turn the way I normally do at night. Perhaps a sleeping bag is a valid option for full-time sleeping.  If this is the case the full size futon can either be put away for when guests arrive or discarded entirely.

I want to read his book again in a few days, but his missive really struck a chord with me. While I do not know if I would want to go as extreme as Peter he has definitely given this aspiring minimalist some things to consider.

If you buy one book this year, make that book “The Happy Minimalist.” It will definitely give you food for thought.