Minimalism: A Simpler Way

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I am downsizing my life, dear readers. After much persuading from my sister, nudging from my husband, and a nagging voice coming from the general direction of my large pile of receipts on my counter, I am attempting to organize and de-clutter across the board. I am using my calendar app on my phone, I am tossing out unnecessary junk mail, and I am retrieving forgotten coats from my car before they pile up. They say it only takes ten days to make something a habit, but from what I can see, those ten days need to be all in a row. I started the process yesterday, so I suppose I’ll have to put a reminder on my phone when the ten days are up.

I have tried to become more organized over the years, creating some sort of a system to keep my life in order. While I’ve been getting along reasonably well, I see many instances where a personal assistant would be of some use. Shopping lists are lost, reminder notes are forgotten, and receipts are crammed in my wallet like… (My sister points out that I have technology at my fingertips that would handle this with ease, but I’ve never been as much of technology guru as she is. You should see her phone – the phrase “Everything in its place,” is a mantra in her world of gizmos and gadgets.) There is something about having a material item in your hands that makes one feel comfortable.

A big point of contention between my husband and me in the way of clutter is the massive amount of books I own. He argues that I never read half of the books I own, pointing out the huge bookcase full of paperbacks, manuals, hard covers, magazines, and more that resides in a dusty corner of our upstairs office. Sadly, my addiction to the written word isn’t limited to this overflowing space. I have books shoved into corners in the bedroom, stuffed into boxes in the attic, a few sliding around in the trunk of my car, and a stack resting comfortably on a shelf in the dining room – and these are only the ones I see on a daily basis. I’ve tried to explain that this is one of the trade-offs with marrying a writer, but he merely sighs as I come in the door with a few more titles under my arm.

I’ve tried going digital, buying ebooks and reading the New York Times on my phone, but nothing is as satisfying as cracking open a good book or flipping through actual pages of print news.

In all seriousness, it’s as good a time as any to clear out unnecessary ‘stuff’ from my life. After years of materialism and eons of time spent chasing the sprawling desire for more and more, a sizable group of people have been quietly getting rid of unneeded possessions, clearing out their homes of clutter, and for some, making homes that take up less space and resources. Minimalism is in, as folks try to find a way to remove stress and worry from their lives.

As the holiday season approaches, I’m decking my halls with less clutter and more love. This year, let’s all fill up our homes with visits from loved ones instead of mountains of gadgets and gizmos. We could all use a little more care and affection in our lives; let’s start today!