Minimalism Status Update


Ball of TwineEarlier this year I came up with a brilliant idea: get rid of 2017 items in 2017 as part of a minimalism challenge. The idea’s purpose simply to purge items in my life that were just taking up space and not providing real meaning. Take the proverbial ball of twine that our lives become and try to unwind the noise and get back to the core.

So, where am I? Did I say the idea was brilliant or completely crazy?

The short answer is that I am behind. I had a strong start early on, but over the last couple of months, I had become rather busy with other activities and stopped actively going through my possessions to see what I can live without. I have resumed the effort in the last couple of days, but I went from needing to get rid of just over five items per day to just under 8. The old adage of why do today what you can put off until tomorrow … wait, I think the one I wanted was, make hay when the sun is shining.

What I have learned

I think the most critical realization I have had is changing my perspective around retaining an item. When I get the twinge of “do I really want to get rid of this” I ask myself if it is something that I will use again or will it just sit there taking up space. If I think I might make use of it, I will keep it. If I am not sure, I will put it aside and think about it again later. If the value and potential use is limited, I get rid of it.

In that last statement is a bit of a trap. The world “value” can trip me up from time to time. I look at something and think instead of just quickly unloading it, I’ll sell it. This item is worth something. The trouble is, that will just leave me holding on to the item and waiting to find a time and place to sell it.

Garage sale effect

How do I combat the “it’s too valuable to be allowed to just go” issue? Well, unless I am certain there is some real value, not just suspected or assumed value, I balance the time and effort to sell the item against the potential money I could make in selling it. Aside from a handful of items, my time is worth more than the potential profit.

Most people have lived through a garage sale and as a result, describe the experience colorfully. Not only do you get pennies on the dollar, but those pennies are often handed over begrudgingly. Couple that with the hours spent setting up, pricing, and then cleaning up, it is not something most people relish doing.

For the shopper, there is an off chance you might walk away with a valuable artifact that will land you on The Antiques Roadshow, but the chances are low and I am willing to take the risk at potentially giving away something of value. While I might think myself a fool if it happens, the chance that I would ever realize what I had done is even lower, so I really should never need to worry about feeling regret.

For the times when I am not sure, I simply Google the item and see if anyone is selling similar items for large sums of money, but so far I have not uncovered anything I need to take to an auction house. If that changes, I will definitely blog about it (in case someone would want to bid on it and push up the price).