One of these changes is that I’m going to be moving from my apartment of 3 years, in which it was just my small dog and me, to a 2-person apartment with my friend Erin and her small dog. It’s a move from an essentially suburban solo-lifestyle to an urban roommate lifestyle, and not only will I be sharing my space for the first time in years, but I’ll also have significantly less space to cram all my things.
So naturally, the first thing I did was begin the worrying process.
How much room will I actually have? How will I choose what to take with me? Where will I store everything I can’t take with me? What if a massive earthquake occurs and I’m sucked down into the steaming, lava-filled depths of the planet?
You get the idea.
The good news is while fretting is my natural knee-jerk reaction to many things, so is problem-solving. I went to the new apartment (Erin is already moved in) and took specific measurements of the my room. I discussed storage of my leftover items in my parents’ basement. I started thinking about throwing away that crappy Ikea desk I’ve had since college. Basically, I took some baby steps.
But I was still concerned about all my stuff. Even getting rid of my desk and old, rickety bed only took care of a single room in my current apartment. I still have tables, bookshelves and chairs in the main room and kitchen area, and that only covers furniture. A bit of a pack rat by nature (I blame habits ingrained from my Odyssey of the Mind days) I’ve accumulated a reasonable quantity of things that I’m going to have to cull from my ownership. How was I going to tackle this?
While I was resigning myself to months of weekends, painfully starting in a room and just making decisions to toss or keep, my friend Steven (knowing me as a worrier) sent me a link to the 30 Day Minimalist Challenge over on Minimalism Is Simple. The challenge is exactly what it sounds like, too: a 30 day guide to helping you minimize your life, each day giving you a new challenge to complete.
I’ve been doing more reading on minimalism as a lifestyle since then (who would be surprised to hear there’s an ‘minimalism’ subreddit? No one? Good). There’s a pretty wide interpretation of the idea, ranging from the basic organization of your things all the way to adjusting the entire way you actually live. I’ve read debates on whether getting rid of your physical books in preference of digital really constitutes “minimal” (you still have all those things, even if they’re physically smaller). This is all to say that “minimalist” means different things to different people. So what do I want it to mean for me?
A live a fairly cluttered lifestyle, and that in conjunction with my relatively immediate need to reduce my mass of items means that to me, “minimalism” is going to at least partially mean “reducing physical items”. Additionally, though, I find that having so much stuff tends to stress me out as well, without me even realizing it. I’d really like to take the time to learn to truly to value a smaller subset of the things I own.
I think spending a month actively reducing my life could be a really interesting experiment. Emily from Spatialdrift and I will be updating weekly with our progress and discoveries – and we invite you to join in with us! You can also keep tabs on us via Pinterest, if that strikes your fancy.