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Minimalism Project Update – One Month Later

I started my six-month Minimize-My -Life project four weeks ago and I’m three weeks ahead of schedule. By the end of last week I was supposed to have my closet finished but two weekends ago I got on a roll and finished my closet and two drawers in my dresser in one weekend. Don’t get too impressed just yet. The two drawers I did were my socks and underwear. I cleaned those drawers out last year during my Week Without TV so there wasn’t much to clean out or organize there.

North wall of my closet

North wall of my closet

I don’t think my closet has ever been as clean as it is right now. It feels so good to have one space in my house that is completely organized and clutter-free. When I find myself needing to clear my head, I often walk in there because I know the clean environment helps me to settle down and focus on what I need to do next.

East wall of my closet

East wall of my closet

You can see from the pictures of just a portion of my closet, I still have a lot of stuff. I didn’t get into this adventure to become a hard-core minimalist. I just wanted to get rid of things that didn’t add value to my life. I have a lot of things that have simply accumulated over the years that need to go. For the clothes that I’m keeping, I’m still using the flipped hanger method to determine what things I’m not wearing. My plan it to get rid of any hanger that holds a garment that hasn’t been worn by the end of the year.

Cleaning out my life has been a lot of fun for the most part. Whenever I find myself waffling on whether I should keep or get rid of an item, I think of what my friend Chad tells himself when he’s cleaning out his stuff: “Just let it go.” Sometimes it’s a little painful to add an item to the growing pile of stuff on the couch that will be given away, but by the next day, I have no problem with it.

I find myself jumping ahead in my clean out schedule. Sometimes I’ll be looking at a bookshelf and see something that I know I don’t use and I’ll snatch it off the shelf and add it to the pile of stuff for charity, even though I’m not scheduled to clean out that space for weeks.

Part of the pile that's going to charity

Part of the pile that’s going to charity

It’s even been easier to get rid of things I’ve been holding onto for sentimental reasons. I am keeping some things that only have a sentimental purpose, but I’m being much more selective than before. One of the best things I learned at the minimalism seminar at SXSW was that objects are not a substitute for memories. Getting rid of the thing does not make a person or an experience any less special.

One of the byproducts of cleaning out my life, is I have to get the stuff that I’m getting rid of out of the house. Right now there’s a growing pile of stuff on the couch in the den and the hall closet is equally full. My parents are visiting soon so I’ll have to get what’s leaving out of the house before they arrive. I’m curious to see how I feel once these things are out of my life officially and forever.

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