Monday, November 18, 2013

Minimalism



What is a minimalist?

"Minimalism is a tool used to rid yourself of life's excess in favor of focusing on what's important so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom."

For the past few years now I have felt the "urge to purge."  No, not to do one of those body cleansing routines where you stick a hose up your rear and flush out the toxins in your digestive tract but to just get rid of the excess baggage that I've accumulated over the past 72 years.  

With little baby steps I've been making trips to the local thrift stores with my "valuables", hoping to give them a new home.  I have to tell you folks, departing with my possessions, which are like friends to me, is perhaps the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life.  I do struggle with "letting go."

This past August I met my new friend Pat.  He is a minimalist.  The above picture is his Christmas decoration this year. That's his house in the background.  All 500 square feet or so of it, compared to my 5,268 square feet of "ranch house".  I have to say that his Christmas decorations looks just as well maybe even better than my past year's of National Lampoon Christmas decorations.


Christmas lighting at Casa Tipton-Kelly 2009
This morning I gathered up all my Christmas lights and donated them to the Second Chances Thrift store in Rehoboth Beach.  They were so happy to receive them.  I am happy that I don't have to put them up this year.  Oh, we'll do some lights, candles in the windows but none of the National Lampoon Christmas light shows for us this year.

I don't think I'll ever be able to completely go "all the way" that my friend Pat has gone but I think I'm going in the right direction.  I feel better already.

This is what a couple said who incorporated minimalism into their lives:

"By incorporating minimalism into our lives, we've finally been able to find lasting happiness.  And let's face it: that's what we're all looking for, isn't it?  We all want to be happy.  Minimalist search for happiness not through things, but through life itself.  Thus, it's up to you to determine what is necessary and what is superfluous in YOUR life."

Well said….well said.








23 comments:

  1. I never had much to start with, so I never got attached to things. I daresay 80% of the crap in my house belongs to spouse. and you can't take it with you to the great beyond!

    I recognize that lovely kitchen!

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    1. Anne Marie,

      I'm at that point of life now that I know I will taking NOTHING with me. But try as I might, some of my "mementos" I just cannot part with. But I still have a lot of "stuff" that I can like two bowling trophies from the Sixties. I know that when I get rid of things for some reason I never say "Gee, I wish I hadn't gotten rid of that." More to go!

      Ron

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  2. Ron

    Frank Gehry, originally from Toronto, told an audience one nite that no one really lives the Mies van der Rohe "less is more" life. Well I think many of us live variations of that theme. And some are completely not that way. But thank goodness for variety. Like so much else in life - one has to discover for themselves what fits their circumstance. I still continue on my journey to 2 trousers, and 4 tops. I find it gets easier as I go and I've never wanted to turn back.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,

      "Variety" is a good way of looking at different people's needs to "things." I have all of my Mother's crochet and knits. I would never in my lifetime get rid of them. However, there is a lot that I can divest myself from and feel better for it. I'm on that path now and I owe you a thanks for getting me started on that path.

      Ron

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    2. your mom was a knitter? WOW! so am I!

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    3. Anne Marie,

      Yes, my Mom was a knitter. I have almost all of her work. That I cannot and will not part with during my lifetime.

      Ron

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  3. I am starting to divest. There is too much crap around here. I have pathways in my house, and you must mountain climb in the "junk" room - emphasis on JUNK. I need a 20 cubic yard dumpster, and 2 or three dump trucks. The thrift stores would have a field day!

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,

      I have a friend who has "pathways" in his house. Thank God I'm not there yet. I know one thing though, when I die several thrift stores down here in Rehoboth and Lewes are going to have a windfall of some really cool stuff.

      Ron

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  4. Minimalism is a fantastic concept and one that should be strived for, but it isn't easy. And I doubt if it would serve to bring me any magical form of happiness or contentment - - BUT it does indeed lift the overwhelming burden of excess and clutter. I truly believe that I don't need 75% of the things I have. In fact, I might even say 85%.

    Most of my things are stored away and I've never looked at them in years. I also still have most of my parent's possessions. My initial plan was to give a lot of things to relatives when I moved, but I'm still trying to sell this damn house and get out of Texas. Much like you, I am extremely attached to my possessions. Everything has sentimental value to me and getting rid of them is painful.

    I'm rambling, as usual, but - all in all - I do wholeheartedly agree that less is better.......

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    1. Jon,

      As usual you expressed my thoughts and feeling exactly. While I'll never get rid of all my things there is a lot that I can discard and feel better for it. I've been putting off for years using eBay but I think I will start this year. Why in the world do I need all my old 32-36 jeans? Someone in this world will find them as a treasure…..vintage jeans from the Seventies!

      Thanks for your comments Jon. Always interesting.

      Ron

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  5. I suspect your basement will be the acid test for your quest to achieve minimalism.

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    1. Dr. Spo,
      The cleaning out of my basement storage room will indeed be my acid test. I will not completely clean out the basement room, that I know, but I will make significant inroads and at least not have it to be the disaster it is now. There are just too many memories down there for me to discard them. When I die, and that is a certainty no matter how much I joke about it, the local thrift stores will enjoy the bonanza that will be my basement storage room.

      Ron

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  6. Randy in NEB12:47 AM

    Ron, I like Pat's concept of minimalism. I'm in the process of not waiting to do the spring clean. Tomorrow is trash day, and every week I go into pitch and chuck mode. A lot of stuff is going to be sold on Ebay. Extra monies for home improvment and my trip to Lewes this spring! I don't have paths in my house, Just unwanted clutter, I clean it up and next week it's back to chaos. Oh for the good old days when I first joined the USAF. My first move every thing I owned (clothes,books and a boombox) would fit in the back seat of my little Toyota.I'll have to take some pictures of the house before and after and do a post on my blog. I'll have something more on there soon. As always reading yours is so much fun! Randy.

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    1. Randy,

      I remember when I got out of the Army and moved to Pittsburgh. All my possessions were in my duffel bag. I wanted for nothing. Oh to be back to those days again. Like you, I have to start selling my more valuable stuff on eBay. I keep putting that off. I haven't sold one item on eBay. Have you sold anything on eBay? I know I have a lot of valuable items that I could make some good money from.

      Looking forward to seeing the before and after pictures of your house on your blog.

      Ron

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  7. It has been said that we spend the 1st half of our lives gathering stuff and the 2nd half divulging ourselves of that stuff.
    I have been on the divulging side for some time now and it's getting down to the inner layers(like an onion)so it's a bit harder than it use to be to let go of some of my stuff.
    But having less stuff in your life also makes your life easier in that there is less time/energy/money spent on keeping it all up. At least that's how I look at it.

    I see humanity divvy-ed up into "archivers" or "not-archivers". I've always been an archiver(in a family of down right hoarders).
    But knowing I can go overboard at any time(because of seeing at which point some family members got to)has been a help to me to keep my inclinations in check.
    Minimalism is a dream devotedly to be wished but not something most can attain.

    Good luck with it Ron.

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    1. Denise,

      Your last sentence "Minimalism is a dream devotedly to be wished but not something most can attain" is right on the mark. I would love to be a minimalist but I know in my heart that is just not possible with my personality. But I can get rid of a lot of "things" and make my life easier. That's my goal and I'm aiming toward it.

      Ron

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  8. Ron,

    I, too, have made pretty good strides at downsizing, and am looking for a retirement house of 1000 sq ft or less (I would like to semi-retire when I'm 60...2 years to go!)

    I will ditch most of my furniture when I leave, and buy some new stuff if I need it. (The only new furniture I've *ever* bought is a computer desk, as the rest is hand-me-downs.)

    Hell, I might just put all my stuff in a storage bin, and live in various campgrounds for 2 weeks at a time...lol!

    :-)

    -Andy

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    1. Andy,

      I don't think I will ever get down to being a complete minimalist but I do feel a strong need to ditch a lot of my stuff. No storage bins for me. If I have to put something in a storage bin then I know I don't need it.

      Ron

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  9. Ron,

    First, happiness is something you choose. It is not dependent on what you have or don't have. Happiness is not being perky and giddy and smiling all the time either. There are downtime, sorrows, losses, etc, but even through the bad times, you can choose to have an inner happiness and contentment. Second, I have been minimizing for a while and have stepped it up now that so much fuss and feathers has finally dissipated in my life. One thing I saw when my parents died last year was the worthlessness of having a lot of things. I tend toward if I can't use it, then let's lose it. Much of what we have in the place now is my wife's. I don't know if I would quite reach the state of my one daughter. I sent you the pictures of her place and you saw she is a minimalist to the nth degree. She was always that way and her deployments in Iraq and Africa made her more so.

    Lar

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    1. Lar,

      My ultimate happiness has always been in relationships, not things that I have. In the past, when I've been depressed whether it was a job that I didn't like or a relationship that didn't work, I would buy things. These days I don't need things. I can see myself getting rid of a lot more of my "things" but never to the degree that your daughter has gone. There are still those items that when I see them invoke fond memories for me. Those I will keep and when I die, which will be one day, someone else can dispose of them for I will no longer need them.

      Ron

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  10. "'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
    'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
    And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
    'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
    When true simplicity is gain'd,
    To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
    To turn, turn will be our delight,
    Till by turning, turning we come 'round right."

    "Simple Gifts" is a Shaker song written and composed in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett.

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    1. Stan,

      I have always admired the Shaker design of furniture. Simple yet functional and attractive. Unfortunately for the Shakers they took minimalism to the extreme and didn't believe in reproducing themselves, thus making themselves extinct.

      Ron

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  11. Anonymous8:43 PM

    Thank you

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