Minimalism, Should vs Must, and How That All Relates to Me

During the month of September 2014, I played The Minimalist Game. The link gives all the deets, but it’s pretty simple – on day one of the month, you get rid of one thing. On day two, you make two more things leave your home, day three is three things and so on and so forth. I made it almost all of the way through the month and it felt AMAZING. I got rid of clothes and toys and kitchen gear… my bathroom was so full of extra beauty products and things that I NEVER used – they all got tossed.

Now, a year later, here I am looking around and feeling stifled- feeling like I’m smothering under a mountain of stuff that is far too much for my tiny little home. I have furniture shoved into every corner. I have stuff Tetrised (do you like how i just turned Tetris into a verb?) into every nook and cranny of every piece of furniture. The tops of my cupboards have stuff. There’s stuff under my bed and under my couches. Tops of armoires- covered. Dressers – covered. There’s SHIT EVERYWHERE. And I’m tired of it. I walk into my house and I don’t feel happy. I feel stressed. I feel like the STUFF is taking over. Truthfully, the stuff IS taking over. Hell, half the time I have to clear a pile of stuff off of my couch just to sit down.

It’s too much and it needs to stop.

I don’t know that I’m going to do exactly the game this time around, but I am going to be making some changes. I have an elliptical machine that I worked really hard to find and, like everybody else who buys fitness equipment, swore up and down that I would use it ALL the time. I’ve used it maybe a dozen times in the year that I’ve had it. It’s not that I don’t exercise, it’s just that I go to boot camp and I run (not as much as I used to) and I don’t need my elliptical for that. So that got listed on Craigslist last night and that will be one LARGE item out of my house.

As I sit here, I can think of a dozen other LARGE-ISH things that I can get rid of. My food processor that I use maybe once a year. The punch bowl that I got as a wedding gift that’s still in its box; uhm, I got married in 2003 and DIVORCED in 2012, WHY do I still have this? The Nike Fuel Band that SO motivated me… for about 6 months until I got tired of wearing it and now it sits in a drawer. I have my eReader that was an amazing gift to me and I have used it A TON… until I got the same app on my phone and on my tablet and I don’t know that I need a 3rd device to carry around anymore (but deary me, thank goodness for the introduction to ebooks because that’s been a huge space saver in my life, bringing my book collection from about 2,000 books to about half of that, with many more anticipated to be purged over the next month).

You catch my drift? I have STUFF.

But, as has been discussed on my brief Facebook post about the Mins Game, minimalism isn’t just about physical stuff. It’s about getting rid of all sorts of clutter in your life – people who are toxic, food that drags you down and bloats you up, habits that tie up your life in inefficiency and distraction.

I’ve spent some time now going through The Minimalists website and this post, Our 21-Day Journey Into Minimalism, was recommended to me to read first. You guys, I would be lying if I said I didn’t get weepy.

The part that rang most true from me was Day 1, Decision Making. They talk about how we (as in most people) always say, “I should do…” and then we never do it. We use it as an excuse to save things for tomorrow or the next day or never. I have been saying for a decade that I should eat healthier and while I make small improvements, I inevitably then fall back to my old unhealthy standbys. I should start learning yoga (and not just follow yoga accounts on Instagram). I should write a book, blog more, journal more frequently – write in general. I should read more. I should, I should, I should. And as they say on their site, you wind up shoulding all over yourself. Pun intended.

So I have made a list of “I Musts.” I’m going to study it and rewrite it and reread it and say it loud and post it all over my house.

Here’s the list:

I must eat healthier.
I must sleep more.
I must spend my money wiser.
I must declutter my home.
I must write every day.
I must practice self-love and confidence.
I must promote kindness.
I must read every day.
I must exercise 4 times a week.
I must learn yoga.
I must spend quality time with Ana every day that I have her.
I must work towards fostering better relationships with Jer’s kids every time I see them.

Tomorrow I will work on examining more closely the obstacles in my way and I will answer some tough questions about why I haven’t made these changes already. There’s got to be something out there that will convince me to change my ways and maybe going through this process of self-examination and questioning will help me get there. Maybe repeating my list of I Must each morning will focus me and push my mind in the right direction.

As you can see, one of my musts is writing daily. I am hopeful that this will include much more frequent blog posts in addition to keeping my personal journal more up to date and maybe even making some progress in the books that currently only live in my brain.

I’m looking forward to getting started and am so hopeful that maybe, just maybe, this time something will stick and I can become somebody that I am proud of.