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minimizing my life

Minimalism in 90 Days Update from Week 8

These are the empty boxes & stuff that's going to charity - December 7, 2014

These are the empty boxes & stuff that’s going to charity – December 7, 2014

I am just over 8 weeks into my variation of Ryan Nicodemus’(of The Minimalists) “packing party.” I’ve been diligent during the last week about making a concerted effort to clean out my minimalism boxes, so most of what I’ve unpacked lately are items that are being donated to charity or surviving the final clean-out. There are still instances where I unpack things because I need them that day – like when I needed some of my fancy things to go to Julia’s wedding, my rubber gloves for dying my hair, and my black morphsuit to perform in Patrick’s piano concert as the unknown faceless person. I’m still documenting everything in my notebook.

I still have 10 boxes left in my minimalism pile and none of them are full. The interesting thing is I’ve made a lot of progress in the last week but it doesn’t seem like I have that much more stuff in my condo. I have 7 boxes of stuff to go to charity and more 6 empty boxes stacked up in my office. I went through one of my minimalism boxes on camera last weekend if you’re interested in hearing the monologue that goes through my head when I’m examining my stuff. (Warning: It was a full box and it took 19 minutes for me to sort through it – but it’s pretty interesting if this process intrigues you.)

There is a box of books in the minimalism pile. I’ve already pulled out the ones I know I want to keep and I put the ones that add no value to my life in the charity pile. There are at least a dozen books in the minimalism pile that I’ve never read but I feel I should read. Most of them are about investing or running a law practice. They’ve all come highly recommended, but it hasn’t been a priority to read them. I’m considering putting them in a stack in my room and giving myself until the end of 2015 to read them. There are so many books in general that I want to read; it’s hard to make it a priority to get to them all.

Overall I’m pleased with the progress I’m making with the final cleanout. I want to be as productive this week with going through my boxes and possibly making arrangements to have the charity boxes picked up so I can make space for what’s really supposed to go in the corner where I’ve stored them – an extra large plushy armchair that I can curl up and read in.

Other updates from the Minimalism in 90 Days project:
What was Unpacked During Week 1
What was Unpacked During Week 2
What was Unpacked During Week 3
What was Unpacked During Week 4
What was Unpacked During Week 5
What was Unpacked During Week 6
Minimalism in 90 Days Update from Week 7

Minimalism in 90 Days Update from Week 7

I'll be going through these boxes by the end of the month.

I’ll be going through these boxes by the end of the month.

I am just over 7 weeks into my variation of Ryan Nicodemus’(of The Minimalists) “packing party.” I still have my notebook where I track what I unpack and get rid of each day, but at this point it seems almost redundant to post the day-by-day list of what I’m using, unpacking, and donating to charity. If you’re really interested in seeing the daily lists, let me know.

I finally went a day where I didn’t unpack anything because I needed it. However, I’m unpacking things if I know they’re going to survive the final cleanout and adding them to the charity pile the moment I know that an item is not going to survive, so even on that day where I didn’t “unpack” anything, items still came out of the boxes. But in case you are wondering, that fateful day was Day 49.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m using this minimalism project as a way to avoid fully settling into my condo. So I’m using this month to do the final cleanout. I’m trying to go through a box a day and at least unpack the things that I know for sure are going to survive the final cleanout. If I find an item that I’ve forgotten that I had, that’s a pretty good indicator that that item can be added to the charity pile. If it wasn’t important enough to remember, it’s probably not important enough to keep. Also, as soon as my brain has placed an item in a particular place in my condo, I try to unpack it, even if it’s an item that someone might consider frivolous like a flower vase or a stuffed animal.

Charity boxes 12-2-2014

Four full boxes going to charity! More to be added I’m sure.

My goal by the end of this month is to have all the minimalism boxes out of the condo and to have at least ordered the final pieces of furniture that I want, which include a dining set, armchairs for the living room and office, a white board for my office, and a floor lamp for my office. I might end up with more furniture than what other minimalists might have, and I’m OK with that. Minimalism isn’t about having less than what others have, and using it like a badge of honor. It’s about having things in my life that give me value without having the things that don’t. For me, it’s important to have a home that is cozy, inviting, and comfortable so I’m diligent about selecting furniture and fabrics that are comforting.

I’ll keep shooting videos of this project, and I might start doing some where I open the remaining minimalism boxes and to talk about what will survive the final cleanout, what definitely won’t survive, and to talk about the uncertainty I have about whether I should or shouldn’t keep an item. One thing I know that has been handy in the past is Joshua Fields Millburn’s 20/20 rule which he talks about in his book Everything That Remains. His suggestion is that it shouldn’t be a big deal to get rid of something if it takes less than 20 minutes and less than $20 to replace.

I’m looking forward to having this portion of my minimalism project complete and sharing the journey with you.

Other updates from the Minimalism in 90 Days project:
What was Unpacked During Week 1
What was Unpacked During Week 2
What was Unpacked During Week 3
What was Unpacked During Week 4
What was Unpacked During Week 5
What was Unpacked During Week 6

Will I Minimize my Star Trek Autograph Collection?

I’m reading (& loving!) Everything That Remains by The Minimalists. I’ve been trying to minimize my life since the beginning of last year. I did a big clean out last year and I’m doing another pass this year. As I read The Minimalists’ new book, I felt the urge to clean out my glove compartment, use up perfumes  that only have a few drops left in the bottle, and get rid of things I don’t actually use anymore.

I really enjoyed reading about Ryan Nicodemus’ experience embracing minimalism. He packed up his entire apartment as if he was moving and then for 21 days he only unpacked the things he needed. At the end of the 21 days, with few exceptions, he sold, donated, or threw away everything that was still in boxes.

I don’t think I would ever do something this extreme, but it made me more mindful of what I actually use on a day-to-day basis and what takes up space in my life and mainly collects dust. One of the things I started thinking about was my Star Trek autograph collection.

Some of my Favorite Photos in my Star Trek Autograph Collection

Some of my Favorite Photos in my Star Trek Autograph Collection

I love Star Trek. I’ve been a Trekkie for over 20 years. I’ve collected 46 autographs from various Star Trek actors from conventions, eBay, and sending requests for autographs directly from the actors. When I was in college, I put them in cheap frames on my dorm room wall but now they’re in plastic sleeves in a binder on a shelf. Some of my favorite autographed photos are DeForest Kelley (died in 1999), George Takei, Patrick Stewart, Wil Wheaton, Whoopi Goldberg, James Cromwell, and Mark Allen Shepherd (Morn from Deep Space Nine). Reading The Minimalists’ book made wonder what value these autographs add to my life. They sit on the shelf and I rarely look at them.

Last year, I started minimizing my Star Trek collection. I’ll admit I still have most of my Trek items I want to get rid of because it hasn’t been a priority to make an appointment with my comic store to see what they’re interested in buying. It’s important to me that my Trek items find new homes with fans who will enjoy them rather than donating them to a thrift store. I wonder if I should bring my autograph collection with me to see if they’d be interested in some of those too.  Twenty-two of my autographs came with certificates of authenticity; I’m not sure how much the value drops without a certificate.

If I part with my collection, it wouldn’t be about the money. It would be about getting rid of things that add no value to my life. When the space around me is clean and uncluttered, I feel more relaxed and it’s easier to focus.