An Empty Room

I walked in to one of our bedrooms and marveled at how empty it was. We’re in the middle of a big shift between all the bedrooms in our home. It is a daunting task to say the least, but at the same time, an opportunity. An opportunity to clear out the unnecessary. Purge the excess. Remove the unneeded. This is an opportunity I’ve personally needed for a long time.

As we move things between 3 bedrooms, I can take a look at my own possessions and make sure they are not possessing me. Upon reflection, many of them are. Do I need t-shirts that I honestly never intend on wearing again? No. Donated. Do we need to hang on to receipts and memorabilia from our honeymoon that I intended on framing? Well, this October will be 17 years and I still haven’t framed them. Nope, don’t need them. Recycled. Some of these items were genuinely hard to part with. My wife was the strong one on a couple of the decisions. Yep, those possessions were possessing me. No longer though.

The room that was empty will not stay that way. It was a temporary state while we cleaned the carpet. But it offered something to reflect on; only fill it with the necessary and let life fill the rest. If I keep hanging on to old t-shirts and ancient memorabilia, isn’t that just getting in the way of the life that could be in it’s place? What am I hanging on to?

Emptiness is a funny thing.

If you enjoyed this, I always appreciate when you recommend or share. Anyone else working on minimizing old t-shirts, memorabilia, and the like? Leave me a note, let’s motivate one another.

Grandma’s Coffee Pot

Your version of minimalism does not have to lack sentimental items

Coffee is the way I wake up in the morning. It provides that little jump start to my day. I remember years ago it took me a lot to even try coffee; it doesn’t taste very good at first. In fact, I don’t know anyone that enjoyed it on their first try. Over time, I trained myself to enjoy it. For one, it was much more affordable than drinking multiple sodas to start my day.

For many years I would require cream and sugar to get it down. In retrospect, this was not any healthier than having multiple sodas. But as I have aged I have found the ability to enjoy black coffee. In it’s own way, this is a minimalist approach to coffee; enjoying it for exactly what it is. It also affords me the experience of coffee without a bunch of other decisions to make.

Quite a few years ago, my Grandmother gave me this little personal coffee pot. It doesn’t make much, but since I am the only one in the house that drinks coffee it is the perfect size. At this point Grandma’s little coffee pot is probably about 14-15 years old and it still works for me. It is a little worn out, the once white form of the machine is more than a few shades of faint brown. The warming plate is burnt and chipped. And the handle on the pot itself has loosened enough to notice.

I often see those nice machines where you insert a single pod to make a cup and I’m tempted to purchase one. The office I work in has one and I enjoy it 5 days a week. Stock up on enough of those pods and you can enjoy a different taste for each cup. But then I reflect and see that this is not necessary. I also realize this defeats my current goals of simplifying life and working towards a version of minimalism that works for me.

I have a coffee pot that works. And the one I have even offers more than a simple cup of black coffee. It offers me the memory of my Grandma to reflect upon as I enjoy my morning drink.

The Mall

We ventured over to the mall last evening. There was a point when I enjoyed going, looking at all the new items each of my favorite shops had for sale, even if I didn’t buy anything. Seeing the new pieces of hardware the Apple store was offering. Seeing the new arrivals at the Microsoft store. Seeing what random shiny object each random store had. Searching for neat things to look at.

I realized last evening as we were walking around, I don’t really enjoy that now. Sure, it was fun to walk around and try to pick out things for others; I’m not yet one of those minimalists that has given up on gift giving. It is still a normal, happy occurrence in my family. I do have to admit, I have a hard time picking things out these days. I find myself thinking ‘would I want X item for a gift?’ And 99.9% of the time; the answer is no. Sure I still like what the Apple and Microsoft stores have to offer, I’m a card carrying computer geek. Sure I still like what the LEGO store has for sale. However, based on my own answer of ‘no’, I have also found my follow up question to myself ‘well, if I wouldn’t want X, why would I get it for <insert name here>?’ This may be a good change in my transition to a version of minimalism that works for my life, but I have to also admit, it is a challenging one.

Written 19-Dec-2013; still working to minimize ‘things’ in my life

A Few More Bags Gone

Took a trip to the donation center yesterday, made it just in time as they were closing up for the evening. We had four large bags of donations to give. The funny thing is, when I got home I sat and thought about what we had placed in those bags.

For the life of me, I can’t remember.

Now, my memory isn’t what it used to be, but what I took from that was how much it proved that I didn’t need any of it. Someone else can hopefully use whatever we had placed in those bags to give away.

As part of that realization I continue to wonder how many more bags of things I can fill up. How many more items do I own that could be instantly forgotten when placed in a bag. And why do I leave them laying around? Time to forget about more things in bags.

Written 6-Dec-2013; still working to minimize ‘things’ in my life

A Clean Desk

Things were fairly slow at work this week. Most had left early for their Thanksgiving breaks, so I had few new emails and action items coming in. This gave me a lot of time to take care of catching up on work. It also allowed me to finally clean out my desk.

I had been meaning to clean it out for quite some time and when I finally got to I was amazed at how things had piled up over the years. I had receipts and expense reports from years past. Training material from classes I took so long ago that I barely remembered. And notebooks filled with old scraps of information long past their usefulness. All of this is now gone.

I also had a large amount of knickknacks and things I had collected on a shelf over the years. Some went to other places (had fun adding a Mr Bigglesworth to my friend’s office), some went in the trash, and some got placed in a bag to bring home.

Funny thing is, I didn’t bother bringing that bag home yet. Something told me, why bother? The items inside for the most part, have just sat there at my desk being unused. If I bring them home I have a feeling the likelihood is very high they would do the same there. The old me couldn’t part with things like that, no matter how unused things were. Maybe something is changing because there is a large part of me thinking I’ll just place the entire bag in the trash when I return from Thanksgiving break.

Written 28-Nov-2013; still working to minimize ‘things’ in my life