thursday evening is garbage day around my house. knowing that the trash collector and the recycling truck would take away anything i put out on the curb tomorrow, i got to minimalizing as soon as the kids were put to bed.

first, i spent some time in the fridge – i’ve posted about my condiment failure previously (and apparently raised quite a stir with the “condiment table” that i posted just for fun). i got the condiments a bit more under control now.

after the fridge, i went to the basement and continued going through old boxes of memories picking up where i left off. the old boxes of memories always slow me down – as well they should. they are filled with people, events, and places that bring back many memories to relive. and secondly, deciding what to do with the stuff can be very difficult depending on my mood. tonight, i kept more than i should have…

all in all, i ended with 2 large bags of garbage, 2 full containers of recycling, and one small pile of ebay items. magically, when i wake up in the morning, the garbage/recycling will have disappeared forever. the garbage man does bring a certain sense of motivation, doesn’t he?

related posts:

“minimalist moment” – a moment in time when my journey to become minimalist impacted an unexpected decision.

over labor day weekend, some friends and i went to see a couple baseball games at a major league stadium. as is my custom, i ordered a large soda and hot dog (with mustard and onions please).  the large soda came in a souvenir plastic cup commemorating the final season at this particular stadium.  as i received the plastic cup, i couldn’t help but think of the dozens of souvenirs cups that i had collected since my childhood at different sporting venues across the country – the exact same cups that i had discarded weeks ago when minimalizing my kitchen cabinet.

my specific minimalist moment came as the ninth inning came to a close and we stood up to leave.  my buddy grabbed his souvenir cup to take home.  i left mine on the stadium floor – it felt really good. 

related posts: 

here are 7 things that could be minimalized in your master bedroom today:

  1. clothing (closets, drawers, and shoes)
  2. dresser tops (jewelry, change, receipts, buttons, photos)
  3. your nightstand drawers
  4. old magazines/books (face it – you’re never going to read that article)
  5. throw pillows (a few are decorative, too many is clutter)
  6. your television (consider the benefits)
  7. the junk under your bed

related posts: 7 things – the kitchen, 7 things – the living room, 7 things – the bathroom

we enjoy entertaining and having people over to our house. we almost always have guests in our home once per week, occasionally twice per week, and sometime three times a week. with this much company, you would think that we would do a better job of keeping our house spotlessly clean. but with two small children, it’s not that easy. and just like most families, we are tidying, dusting, and vaccuming in the hours preceding the guests’ arrival hoping that none of them arrive too early.

since intentionally becoming minimalist 45 days ago, we have noticed a significant decrease in the amount of preparation time before our guests arrive. there are less things in the house that need to be relocated. there are less things that need to be cleaned or dusted, and we have a tendency to keep our house cleaner throughout the week because the clutter is more obvious in a minimalist home.

this benefit came sharply into focus over the last two test cases. 1) my mother-in-law came to stay with us for a week to watch our kids. 2) a group of strangers came over for an evening to discuss investing in our businees. in both cases, we were ready preparing the house in record time and even had time to spare before the guests arrive.

since going minimalist, we have found it easier to entertain and more enjoyable.

related posts: benefit #4 – easier to clean, full list of benefits of minimalism

a fix of minimalism

July 18, 2008

i have been going through a bit of minimalism withdrawal lately.  over the span of 36 days, i will be in town for only seven – and those seven have been filled with visiting relatives, spending time with my kids, and meetings at work.  as a result, i have had nothing to report about my personal minimalism efforts (maybe you have noticed).  and even worse, i have been itching to get back to the job that i started 45 days ago.

luckily, this evening (friday) i was able to sneak in an hour of minimalization around the home.  i was quickly drawn to the storage room downstairs and went to work.  old toys, old knick-knacks, old books, old tools, and old boxes went flying.  4 large trash bags tied and ready for the dump later, i feel satisfied.  i have had my minimalism fix. 

i wonder what i would have said if somebody had me told when i was 21 that i would soon be spending friday nights celebrating the trash that i have collected…  oh well, maybe if somebody had told me when i was 21 to stop buying stuff, i wouldn’t be in this mess today.

over the past 45 days since we intentionally decided to become minimalist, i have had scores of conversations with people about our decision. and it usually happens the same way…

my wife and i are sitting at a table with a group of people when one of our friends will say, “joshua, you should tell so-and-so about your minimalism decision.” i am usually reluctant, but often oblige when so-and-so reiterates the question. i try to begin as close to the beginning as possible (read it here) and take them through our journey while the parties ask questions along the way. somewhere about half-way through, i inevitably find agreement on the part of the listeners.

typically, they will respond with statements like, “i have so much stuff that i need to get rid of too,” or “you should see my basement, it’s a disaster,” or my favorite, “i can’t wait to get home and start throwing things away.” a smaller percentage will email or post a comment the following day journaling the boxes of junk or bags of clothes that they have removed from their lives.

the attractiveness of minimalism (to date, only two men have outright determined that they would never get rid of their stuff) seems so universal that i can’t help think that this is the way life is meant to be lived and when a soul hears the invitation, it responds favorably. we were never meant to live life accumulating stuff. we were meant to live simply enjoying the experiences of life, the people of life, and the God of life – not the things of life. i just wish it hadn’t taken me 33 years to figure that out.

related posts: possessions do not equal joy, the journey begins, a spiritual journey

the story of stuff

July 15, 2008

the story of stuff.com