Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.
This week, I’m pleased to feature Diane. She tells us how she went from being a minimalist youth to an adult with too much stuff–and how she’s now downsizing with great enthusiasm!
I became a minimalist very young due to a severe respiratory allergic reaction to dust. My poor mom had to wash my painted bedroom bureau, desk and shelves every other day since I can remember, so in order to help mom, I left few items on my furniture. I couldn’t bear the thought of her having to lift and dust every knick knack; therefore all I had on my bureau was a pretty figurine she had given me; on my desk a radio and a pencil/pen set; and, on the shelves, my dictionaries – this made cleaning easy for mom.
When I left home to seek my independence, I didn’t want to clutter my life mainly because I would now be in charge of dusting and because I had become used to a clutter-free existence. But overtime, like many, I succumbed. Everyone around me had lots of furniture and, if you were an avid reader, lots of books so I too starting buying more stuff. Although some of the new stuff was antiques, it was still stuff. I had lived and moved to various cities and dragged all my stuff with me. Then, when I turned 40, I suddenly became claustrophobic in my own home. I was being suffocated by all the stuff. My kitchen had so much clutter on the countertops (even though I wasn’t much of a cook) in order to appear like a chef lived there (don’t the magazines always show cluttered kitchens to reflect the seriousness of the resident chef!). All my toiletries were evident in the bathroom because I felt it important that people (okay, women) notice my high-end brands. Aren’t I special because I used Chanel powder blush! My bedroom looked like a cyclone had gone through it but I just closed the door when visitors popped by. The living room was the worse – lots of books and plants and a table for this and a table for that, and a chair next to each, as well as a sofa-bed and lazy-boy chair and coffee table and bookcase and another bookcase and another bookcase. HELP! I sold what wasn’t important to me and kept the basics.
Years later, when my parents moved from their condo and into a retirement residence, I helped them downsize, except I couldn’t decide what to do with all the things they couldn’t bring with them so I stored them at my place. One year later, when it was difficult to retrieve things from my closets, cupboards and locker, I felt I was being suffocated again. It was then that I discovered missminimalist.com. How wonderful it was to read how she downsized her home, her wardrobe, her life and was able to travel with just one suitcase.
So I followed Miss Minimalist’s suggestions and kept only the kitchen tools I needed (I had five whisks!). I ended up taking a car load (13 boxes filled my trunk, backseat and passenger seat) to the auctioneer who had sold my parent’s furniture and he sold my stuff for a nice sum, which went immediately into my bank account. Next, all the books, DVDs and CDs are listed for sale on Amazon and that’s coming along just great. My co-worker lent me her digital camera and I am selling approx 10 pieces of furniture on Kijiji. I plan on retiring in Vancouver within the next 4 ½ years and only want to bring a couple of boxes filled with those special gifts that I’m keeping. Half of the furniture that I don’t currently use is being sold now, and the other half when I eventually put my condo up for sale.
I also like Miss Minimalist’s idea of using her laptop as a TV. I inherited my parent’s large screen TV but don’t get any channels as I hate TV; however, I do enjoy watching DVDs and my exercise and yoga DVDs. So when I do get to Vancouver, I’ll just purchase a laptop and that will be my entertainment centre (oh, and a cushion to sit on and preferably by a window).
Thank you Miss Minimalist and all of your bloggers with your fantastic stories, suggestions and ideas. Vancouver has numerous condos many of which are between 400 – 600 sqft (my current one is 825 sqft), thus I am preparing myself for a future with even less stuff but more time to spend biking, volunteering and rediscovering the city I had lived in for awhile during the early 80s.