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Minimalism part 2: Actually doing it

Minimalism part 2: Actually doing it

In the middle of moving I couldn’t find enough time to sit down and write for this blog. Fortunately, with all that long past, I’m back and ready to keep on going. In this post, I want to continue with minimalism and how it was to start being more minimalistic. As might be clear from the title it was somewhat tougher than anticipated, especially when you decide you’re moving and you want to take about half of your stuff with you to a bigger living space.

Lets get started

This is a repost of a 2015 article for archiving purposes. Due to the rebuilding of the blog, the old post is no longer existent. Visuals may not entirely fit the new layout.

I started packing a week before moving, which was plenty of time for the single room I lived in. I found though that for a living area of fourteen square meters I had accumulated a lot of possessions, so that meant a lot of giving away and throwing out. The list with possible tasks I created in my first post on minimalism was also meant for myself, so the whole process started with taking a single trash bag and filling it with obsolete stuff which wouldn’t add much value to anyone’s life. This first attempt to decluttering my own life was very successful and I continued this process by getting rid of stuff that I would never need. In the end I had the following, aside from furniture:

4 trash bags of actual trash – stuff that wouldn’t help anyone by keeping it or giving it away. The weirdest items were a printer which had been broken for about a year and a half, a hockey stick which had been floating around three years after it broke and half a set of a home beer tap system which was discontinued.

3 trash bags of clothes – how long had it been again since I cleared out my closet? Too long it seems, as I had accumulated a whole three trash bags of clothes that were too old, purchased for one-time use or too big (not sure if I feel too bad about losing weight though..). These were of course deposited in clothes containers, where they would be distributed to people who have need of them.

4 crates of books – I decided to transport my books in crates, but I only had four of them. They filled up pretty quickly and not even half of my books fit in them, so I had to make some tough decisions on what books to take and what books to give away. I will elaborate on this below.

It's packing time

It's packing time

2 bags full of keepable clothes – yes, that’s right. I kept less clothes than I got rid of. It actually struck me that all the clothes I regularly wore fit into two bags, not counting the few separate hangers for suit-related objects that transport better that way.

5 boxes of loose things – including shoes, random decorations, towels, bottles of booze, board games and other random items.

That’s all I had, packed up neatly, and I figured it was all I needed. Time to go on and evaluate the process.

What do I keep?

The easy part I have talked about before. It’s very easy to pick out the obvious trash items and start piling them up to throw all of them away at once. When that’s done, there’s still more left than you intent to keep, so tough choices will have to be made. In my case my books were the toughest picks, so I will elaborate on how I selected which to keep and which to give away or donate.

Having allocated limited packing space for the books I wanted to keep I had to choose how to fill that space with the right books. The obvious ones went in first: the study books and the classical literature. The two of them together ended up filling about two of the crates and emptied only two out of six shelves. That meant I had four more shelves to go through, most of which were partially double-stacked. That’s a lot of books to choose from!

Books with the most value to me – even some I had read three times already – ended up going into the crates first, together with complete series, but soon enough the crates were overflowing and I hadn’t even gone through half of the books. This would be a lot tougher than I had anticipated.

Books are important

Books are important

I decided to do it the other way around. I unpacked and started all over again, this time creating a pile of books that I didn’t really want to keep. This seemed to work much better, as I now had about three shelves full of books left, out of which I could bring two, down from little over five, when not double stacked. I looked through my books and saw the Harry Potter series, which wasn’t complete, but held some memories for me. Then I remembered a flatmate who was planning on purchasing those and decided to let the memories be memories and give them to her: half a shelf gone.

It went the same way with some other books I was on the fence with, where I would invite people to come and take a look and if they wanted they could take anything from my bookcase free of charge, having already packed the items I absolutely wanted to keep. Eventually I had but little over two shelves left and I decided to give myself some leeway and pack the three extra books that didn’t fit in the crates as well. I am but human after all and came a long way already in such a short time.

What’s next?

I plan to keep on going evaluating what I need in my life and what I don’t, constantly questioning my planned purchases. The last six months I have been living that way most of the time and made some interesting discoveries about myself and the stuff I own, which will be featured in the next instalment of this series (which I plan to finish before another six months pass).

Did you ever give minimalism a try, or do you want to? I’m curious to hear what you think of it, so leave a comment below!

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