December 13, 2010
Since Thanksgiving I've been thinking about minimalism and what being a minimalist mean to me. Living in an all white, 200sq ft home is unimaginable, but living with less "stuff", having visual and physical space feel right. I'm not about to move, for many reasons, although I wouldn't mind a smaller more efficient home. Where I am now is what I have…I want to stay and I want to make it mine (again).
(my spinning corner looks great!)
Defining my own sense of minimalism has taken a bit of thought, but I've decided on a few basics.
1. Less stuff means more room; more room to move, more room to live = less distraction, being mindful and in the moment.
2. More room means better organization. Instead of feeling guilty, or chiding myself to clean the closet (some day), I can see what's inside...every.blessed.thing inside. No more digging through box after box, bin after bin, as everything needed is visible. It feels good to realize I need far less that I thought I did.
3. Being minimalist does not mean having nothing. Know and understand completely, the difference between need and want (and work towards needing less). How many pans do I need to cook a meal, how many shoes do I really wear, how many handbags do I use? How much weight was lifted when I gave away what I no longer used or needed? (Answer: A LOT!)
4. Do not allow my "stuff" to define me. Keep only what has good memories attached, what items have meaning and bring a sense of peace.
5. Realize the change from clutterist/collector to minimalist takes time, effort and commitment. There is no timeline or deadline, no rules.
6. Stay away from perfectionism. Not every shoe, pencil or fork needs to be lined up and perfectly placed. Live in the space created, don’t fret over it. Keep life simple. Add color.
7. Move away from acquisition, be mindful of consumption, and focus on living, not having.
The Polar Santa does not understand simplicity. His costume is elegant, textural, and dimensional. The bear is reined with gold braid couched into place and fringed to excess. Santa's beard is made of bullion curls and his tassel flows along behind as he rides along with a quiet air of elegance and opulence.
Perfectly said, Margene! My personal goals for the new year are very much in line with yours. I, too, want to focus on living . . . not having!
Posted by: Kym | December 13, 2010 at 04:13 AM
I completely agree. A more organized room is easier to use and definitely more enjoyable to occupy!
Posted by: Carole | December 13, 2010 at 04:42 AM
I love your list! When my mother-in-law passed 10 years ago we "inherited/stored" her collection of dishes, furniture, etc. That was after filling two dumpsters before selling her house. The sentimental me has kept quite a bit. Now I'm finally feeling I need to let this stuff go. Everyone in the family has had the opportunity to take what they want. Time to let go.
Posted by: Geri | December 13, 2010 at 05:06 AM
Good points, girl! And, your Polar Santa is exquisite. I love it!!!!
Posted by: CindyCindy | December 13, 2010 at 05:53 AM
Nicely said, Margene. I'm striving to return to the simplicity I had (by necessity) when I lived in my little co-op. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Posted by: Beverly | December 13, 2010 at 05:54 AM
Beautifully said. Love your bear-toting Santa.
Posted by: Manise | December 13, 2010 at 06:02 AM
Simplifying ones life (and by extension, ones possessions) is a great goal. I have a while to go before i can achieve it as my kids (and husband) are all pack-rats. It'll be a long-term process for us. You're doing great, though! Love the Santa.
Posted by: regina | December 13, 2010 at 06:31 AM
Santa and his stead are elegant, indeed! Your space looks so inviting. I see a lot of process in your progress!
Posted by: jill | December 13, 2010 at 06:32 AM
Love the post. Am trying to simplify, too.
You are correct. There is not right or wrong way to do it. Just what works for each one of us. I do not shop for recreation anymore and it has been so liberating.
Your needlework is exquisite!
Posted by: Vicky | December 13, 2010 at 06:39 AM
Very good points, Margene!
Also, love the polar bear Santa with his elegant coat.
Posted by: Heather | December 13, 2010 at 07:06 AM
I really need to start working toward minimalism...
Posted by: Chris | December 13, 2010 at 07:07 AM
Your eloquent post came at a perfect time for me. Next week I retire after 40 years of being a nurse! Stash building was "apparently" my hobby while I was working...used it as my "reward" after a stressful night at work. Now it's time to knit something pretty from all this yarn. Thank you for inspiring me!
Posted by: Sharon | December 13, 2010 at 07:21 AM
We are working on not acquiring without purpose. It is hard because I have a lot of collector tendencies hard wired, but I love having space to move and breathe in our house. The most difficult part is keeping my daughter's stuff contained (in quantity and space).
The polar bear santa is wonderful.
Posted by: Kat | December 13, 2010 at 07:31 AM
Hear hear! I especially like number 7! and will try to adopt it. thank you for sharing :)
Posted by: Rachel | December 13, 2010 at 07:33 AM
It's amazing how much the physical clutter affects (and weighs down) all the other aspects of our being. You've nailed it down, Margene!
Posted by: Vicki | December 13, 2010 at 07:49 AM
love the polar santa! The question is, does the Santa have more embellishment than it needs? or is the level just right? if the latter then it doesn't go counter to your minimalist list.
Posted by: StephCat | December 13, 2010 at 08:05 AM
open shelving in my house makes me distracted/frustrated. my kids use it as catch-all space(in spite of me!) and i just want doors to slide over it so i can have some visual calm . . .
thank heaven we are minimal, if they had MORE, i'd have to go live in the shed.
Posted by: jennifer | December 13, 2010 at 08:40 AM
LOL... I think you're missing a zero in your square footage. Unless your home has shrunk since I last saw it.
I just wonder what took you so long to start painting away all of the white!
Posted by: Cheryl S. | December 13, 2010 at 09:29 AM
That's my favorite Santa, so far! Love the details.
I can do #7, but I've found I'm more comfortable in clutter. 'Empty' rooms make me feel agoraphobic...
Posted by: gayle | December 13, 2010 at 09:32 AM
That Santa is stunning!
Posted by: Gail H. | December 13, 2010 at 10:45 AM
Those are good points, Margene. We have way too much stuff in our house, a point that is being driven home by my son's moving back home next week. I am getting rid of a lot of stuff, and as I do I feel like a weight is lifting. I have set a new rule that nothing comes into our house without something else going out. Now I just have to convince my husband and oldest son of this. The younger is already on board,
Posted by: Doris | December 13, 2010 at 11:00 AM
Love this post! So well said!
Posted by: Kristin | December 13, 2010 at 06:15 PM
I especially like #'s 5 and 6. Thank you, Margene! Your Polar Santa is georgeous.
Posted by: Joyce L. | December 14, 2010 at 05:59 AM
I am so proud of you.
Posted by: Cookie | December 14, 2010 at 05:27 PM
Beautifully stated, Margene! As a newly-discovered Christian Buddhist, I am learning the miracles that can occur by being present in the moment, and letting "stuff" recede into the background and become less important!
And as a devoted needlepointer (as well as knitter) I am simply STUNNED by your Christmas goodies! Inspirational on so MANY fronts today!
Posted by: Elizabeth | December 14, 2010 at 05:53 PM