Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Fight For Minimalism

The giant garage sale was this past weekend.  That huge pile of de-cluttered clutter made its way into my garage, accompanied by price tags, and onto tables.  I also had 4 boxes (Dude) of items that were broken, worn out or stained and could not be sold.  And there were two big boxes of free items. 

Thanks to a recent growth spurt by Maddie, I had so much clothing to sell that it was a little embarrassing.  Honestly, I probably had 40 summer short-sleeve shirts in size 6.  I don’t even really know how that happened.  At least, that’s what I want you to think.  But the truth is I know exactly how it happened.  When we already had plenty, I thought it would be fun to get a few new things.  And thus we have the 14 pairs of size 6 jeans I had to sell.  Lest you think I am exaggerating, one of my friends counted them in astonishment.  Awesome.

We opened a day early because the weather for the two days we had planned to be open was forecasted to be cold, windy and rainy.  So our first day was Thursday.  I made my goal income on that day alone.  I was jazzed.

I have a spacious storage room holding only necessary items.  I have empty drawers.  I have emptied a lot of containers and storage tubs.  There is space and emptiness and it feels good.  I was pretty sure I had this minimalism thing figured out.

Until I caught myself Friday morning with this one innocent-seeming little thought.  “What am I going to do with all this money?”

The list of things I would like to buy started forming.

The LIST of THINGS I would like to BUY started forming.


I went into all of this with the hope of having less.  I went into this experiment of sorts hoping to keep only the things we need or really truly like and enjoy.  And yet, there is this awful consumerism mindset that creeps in so unexpectedly.  It is the reason Maddie had 14 pairs of size 6 jeans. 

There is something to be said for selling things you don’t like, want or need and then purchasing good quality items that you truly love.  For example, since my kids no longer play Barbies it makes some sense for them to sell those items and buy a lego set they have been wanting.  But I now see how extremely careful one must be to live with the less. 

Now that we have de-cluttered, can we live by the one-in-one-out rule?  Can I just put the money away for a fun experience or for savings or for a good cause instead of spending it on more STUFF?  I have to tell you I am wrestling with this.  Humbling as it is to admit, I want to go buy new things.  New things that will eventually result in another growing pile of unwanted stuff in my basement storage room.

I write this to be honest with you – to let you know that this whole process is not always easy.  To tell you that I by NO MEANS have minimalism all figured out.  To tell you that I still want new and more.  But I’m trying to live in the tension and not listen to the consumerist voices in my head.

Is there more that could go?  Probably.  But I’ve come this far and I’m determined not to go back.

1 comment:

Laura K. said...

Love this, Jean! Glad you posted a link to your blog, or I don't remember to read people's blogs!!
I'm in the same place... TRYING, Trying trying... to get rid, declutter... but the desire for that "next best thing" lurks around the corner. And I do think it is way more difficult with kids around. They are the reason I want to buy anything. Everything I buy is for them... and that creates a problem I don't want to have later in life. So many lessons here, for me and for my kids...
Anyway, great reminder. And Good for you!!! making money at a garage sale and having empty drawers. I'm inspired...