Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The "Stuff" Diaries: Moving, Frugality, and Minimalism


Being about 3/4 through the move from Old Apartment to New Apartment--and living day-to-day in New Apartment, I have noticed several things.

One. The "stuff" still in my old apartment is not necessary to me on a day-to-day basis.

Which means... what? First, what remains at the Old Apartment is the following: boxes of packed away things in the understairs closet, contents of bathroom cabinet I don't use daily/weekly, pantry/dishware items ditto, clothes to go to the tailor, and The Study.

Furniture and things I intend to sell on Craigslist (and have just got the ball rolling on) are there, of course, but so is stuff I thought "necessary" to my life... which isn't. I eyeball this "stuff" and think, can't I just forget it? So as I clean the apartment (looking for that deposit refund), I am also cleaning and editing what will be transported to the New Apartment. Or donated/thrown out/sold.

I'm hoping it is about a 1:1:1:1 ratio of the above.



Two. I've already transported stuff I should have edited.

How do I know? When I go to put it somewhere in the New Apartment, I have to create a spatial category for it, like "old photos" or "shoes I rarely/never wear" and store it. But not in a place where I have to get at it readly, or without one of my two stepladders (hey, I'm short!).

Note to self: if I am storing something where it won't be any trouble or reachable, it needs to be edited/donated/thrown out/sold.



Three: I have divvied up my clothes between two closets, and one is getting all the play.



What does that mean for the smaller but stuffed closet? Clothes I don't wear. Sure, there are some seasonal items that have to be stored for the return of fall/winter (starting in late October!), but again there are simply lots of things I Do Not Wear. So... why am I storing them?

I love my Express Checkout Closet with only the clothes I am wearing now, my shoes, my purses, my hats, and (to come) t-shirts and accessories. It is almost a dressing room in its orientation, where I can actually see everything circulating in a lively way. I can also see "my style," if you will, and appreciate its clarity. The older, fancier linen dresses I loved a decade ago don't fit the person using this closet, literally sure but metaphorically either--or maybe some of them do, but some of them don't. That would be a good start.

Four. Suddenly there is light and breathable space everywhere in the apartment, even with/among the many, many things I have kept and will not part with.

Not only because the apartment is bigger in square feet and with more and better situated windows, but because there is space between furniture pieces. On the shelves. On the walls.


All the more reason to edit mindfully. I don't want to crowd the apartment up again, because all of a sudden I feel like there is energy, air, breath moving through my living space. In my bedroom that means not having my sheets kept under the bed in their former plastic storage boxes... and editing the sets of sheets I keep. Having an in-house washer-dryer helps. Two flannel and two cotton sets will be enough; everything else will be donated or tossed, and another storage space will have to be found. I have already minimalized here, by the way: I don't use top sheets, only duvets or conforters, bottom sheets, and pillowcases. Ditto, towels: three sets is enough for myself and guests.

So I guess while I continue to move out of Old Apartment and into New Apartment, I will continue to mindfully edit the contents thereof.


Summer 2011, then, will include Editing Projects for the apartment, wherein I choose one room, space, or category to edit every week, with the final goal being nothing but "beautiful and useful" things in my living space.

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