So I have kicked off the minimalist vibe again following a break to move to London. I am trying to get rid of 100 things, and by the time I wrote the last blog I thought I had removed 68 items. But alas, that was a lie!
As with my last big minimalist (oxymoron?) binge, I have kept track of the items on Excel, and whether I have recycled or thrown away. On checking the list, I realised I hadn’t updated it for my most recent eBay sale. And two items which hadn’t sold were still in the flat, so in fact I was only on 66 items. Which was depressing, as I was already finding this pretty tough.
But then an unfortunate accident helped me along my way. In an act of clumsiness that shocked even me (and for reference, my childhood nickname was Colonel Clumsy of the Awkward Squad – thanks Grandad) I managed to slip on a curtain that I had literally just laid out of the floor to be hemmed, then tried to steady myself with my other foot, caught it on an extension lead, fell over backwards and pulled a glass lamp off the mantle piece. So now I have quite a nice bruise on my hip, and a deceased glass lamp. This was not an item I wanted to get rid of – in minimalism we talk about attaching emotions to objects (and the danger in doing this), and this was definitely an item that fell into that category. That lamp had been with me for 15 years, and was the only thing I bought with my staff discount from my first ever job. I would not have willingly got rid of it.
However this accident actually gave me the opportunity to find some more items to remove, and a couple of great learning experience. Once I got up off the floor, checked I wasn’t bleeding (always a risk when my clumsiness is involved) and started tidying up, I realised that obviously I had smashed the lamp into a million pieces over the top of my unsorted book and picture piles. Whilst working through said piles to sweep off any glass, I found 7 books that I was like “really, how did you survive the last cull!?… Out you go”.
I also realised the next day that I wasn’t sad about the lamp. It was just a cheap lamp; I spent some time thinking about life 15 years ago, about Warrington and that job and college and clubbing and everything else that went on in the early 2000’s. And that gave me some ideas for future blog posts (I know, I’m not sure the world is ready for Tales of Grim Northern English Towns in the Early Naughties, but sometimes you have to be trendsetter). But I don’t need the lamp to have those memories and their emotions, they are in me, detached from the lamp.
Finally, I also took the opportunity whilst tidying up the books to sort them into read/not read. And I have A LOT of not read – I had recently fallen off the non-buy bandwagon for books (damn you Amazon, stop making it so easy to buy things at 11pm on a whim), and this was the kick to stop again. I resolve, here and now, to not buy another new book in 2016, and instead work through the pile. And any that I pick up and think “oh god, why do I own this?”, or get half way through and give up, will go to the charity shop. No second chances.
So from accident and destruction came inspiration, guidance and optimism. So not so bad after all.