Viewing entries tagged
Things

12 Comments

An Exercise in Downsizing, Minimalism and Mindfulness

So here's the thing: I love things.Pretty things, useful things, things that hold sentimental value... I have always been a bit of a collector, staging my little treasures on shelves in rooms since I was a wee one.

Here's the other thing: sometimes the sheer number of things in life can start to weigh one down.

And that, my friends, is where the journey to be a bit more mindful begins.

-----

You see, my family has always placed a lot of value on things -- not in a greedy way -- but in a 'these are the things you need to live a full life, so you should probably have them' sort of way. Much of my family (myself included) also places an incredible amount of value on sentiment.

I'm a huge sap when it comes to the belongings of relatives. While this has always been the case, it was never more evident than when we were going through the events of a few years ago. That X-acto knife belonged to Papa? I'll take it. Nana's Pyrex bakeware? Sure. They're total duplicates of what I already have, but you can never have too much Pyrex, right? While the X-acto knife is of use to me, it turns out you can, in fact, have too much Pyrex.

And that's just one example. Throughout my 30 (okay, okay... 30 1/2) years on this planet, I have gone though so many stages of accumulation and simplification: going off to college, moving into my first apartment, inheriting things from relatives, buying a house, getting married, etc. The list goes on and on. I also know that those stages only continue as we move through life.

How do I know this? Well, my mom and I are going through this exercise together. That's right: my mom, who has been living in her childhood home amongst many of her childhood things, is downsizing her life. She, too, is attempting to remember the sentiment while letting go of the things.

attachment-5188fb9fe4b0921527f97a70

We've already begun the process. My mom has started selling things that no longer bring her joy on sites like ebay and craigslist. We've been cleaning out closets and cupboards in both of our houses and donating items to worthy causes, we've been prepping for a pretty substantial yard sale next month and I've even started selling items from my closet on Poshmark (you can sign up with the invite code HMJJH and earn a $5 credit, if you're interested).

That said, this isn't necessarily about having the fewest items possible either. I will probably never be the girl who can fit all of her belongings into one suitcase. I enjoy having a carefully curated place to live and work and my mom likes being surrounded by pretty and useful things that make her feel good.

No, this is about letting go of material things that we've been holding onto for the wrong reasons with the hope that they will end up in the hands of people who will use and cherish them.

Let me be clear: some of the items my mom is letting go of will end up with me because I find joy in them. Grandma and grandpa's wedding cake topper? So sweet! I'm sure I have room for that. My great grandmother's vintage salt and pepper shaker collection? Of course I want those!

What can I say? I may not be the best at living a truly minimalistic life, but I'm trying really hard to be mindful about what I keep. As more family heirlooms end up in my possession, I'll be letting go of items I no longer have use for or accumulated unnecessarily. I will also say "no, thank you" to items I may have said "yes, please" to in the past.

The goal is to let go of more than we hold onto. I'll keep you posted on how that all turns out, my friends.

-----

What has made this exercise easier (and even enjoyable) is knowing we're not alone. I have been completely inspired by people like Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (aka: The Minimalists), people who live in Airstream trailers full-time (and spend more time experiencing than consuming) and local gal Ashlee Gadd of Where My Heart Resides who has documented some of her journey here, here and here. They have all made a conscious decision to let go of the excess, separate the memories of loved ones from material things and put more emphasis on living than collecting.

I hope you'll find their stories to be as motivating as I do!

-----

Your turn: Have any of you been down this road before? Maybe on more than one occasion? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

12 Comments

3 Comments

Change is Good

attachment-518b21d5e4b03f3a639ff2a0

As the new year approaches, I can't help but reflect.

Over the last several years, and even more so in the last several days, our world has become so...loud. The constant stream of opinions, judgements, facts, misinformation, deeply personal stories and meaningless drivel I've opted in to (and, yes, participated in) has become overwhelming.

I find myself less interested in turning on this big, beautiful hunk of an iMac to write due to the noise I find just one browser tab over.

So, I'm opting out of certain things. I won't cut all ties, but those of you interested in following this blog on Facebook after the new year will be out of luck. I'll be deleting my account completely in the coming weeks.

While Facebook is an amazing tool for some businesses, I'm finding it less and less effective for sharing blog content. Sure, I can post a link, but very few people actually see it in their news feeds. Pictures generally elicit a response, but garnering "likes" on a photo stored within the Facebook platform has done very little to grow readership on this blog.

If you follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook, you may have seen my (and a TON of others, I'm sure) early concern regarding the new Instagram Terms of Service. While they've attempted to quiet the masses, I'm still not sure it's the right platform for me anymore. I know they have to monetize their business and have always figured that advertising would be part of that. My personal preference is usually to pay for a service, rather than have my content sold against without recognition or compensation. So, I'll wait to see what Instagram has to say about their "confusing" language (which, let's face it, was actually quite clear) and decide whether or not to move on. The good news is that we have choices. We always have choices (thank you, tireless app developers). I'm checking out the newly updated Flickr app and EyeEm. Feel free to join me here and here, respectively.

That said, I'll still be sharing blog goodness and other fun stuff over on Twitter, Pinterest and Everplaces. As always, you can follow this blog and get new posts sent directly to your email like so:

attachment-5188fba5e4b0921527f98097
attachment-5188fba5e4b0921527f98094

You can also subscribe to my RSS Feed.

As far as content is concerned, I'm excited about the possibilities.

I purposefully titled this blog People + Places + Things so that I could cover a variety of topics. Admittedly, I've been really focused on the places as of late. The bottom line is this: I've had the unique opportunity to travel more over the last year and I took full advantage of that. Thus, the blog reflected my trips and adventures more than it did the people who inspire me. That will definitely change in 2013. As for the things... well... we'll just have to see how I address that part of the blog in the new year. I wouldn't expect an abundance of gift guides and the apocalypse will surely come before you'll see a "what I wore" post. There are bloggers who do that well (exhibits a, b and c). I am not one of them.

I look forward to the changes in store. I also look forward to having much more peace and at least a bit more quiet in the months to come.

I'll catch you on the flip side, friends.

Happy Holidays.

3 Comments

Comment

Oh, Hi There

I'm just going to jump right in: I've been thinking about starting a personal blog for quite some time. The way I see it, the world in which we live is pretty amazing. Even the not-so-great experiences in life can be fairly interesting if you stop and reflect a bit. My goal is to share stories about the people, places and things that get me going.Now, I understand that this type of blog may or may not be of interest to others. I'm cool with that. Feel free to turn that dial at any time. Many of the posts will be personal in nature and - spoiler alert - some may not be of the warm fuzzy variety. You can handle that, right? Good.

See ya down the road, folks....

Comment