My plan is simple. Get rid of 80% of all the things I own. Yet, the execution of my intriguing plan had been far from simple. Stress. Anxiety. Fear. Leaving my life behind for fresh nothingness. It involved looking at a piece of clothing and remembering how happy I was wearing it two years ago. It involved my heart pounding outside my van as I attempted to drive to the donation lot. It involved tears as I drove away from emptying out the life of materials I built.
My donated items were in my car for over six months before I donated then. Yes, six months. Each time I say I am going to go donate them ,I could never pull out of the driveway. I donated a good portion, but this last stretch of minimalism was having its trials.
As I began to unpack things and memories I realized how much attachment I have held on to little things.I have come a long way, but there is still a lot of progress to be made. I had never gotten rid of things I didn’t want before, simply because I didn’t need them.
I want to be a minimalist but there are a lot of tough questions I struggle with.
What do I do with all of my books and journals?
What do I do with handwritten cards and letters?
What do I do with gifts?
What if my future children wish they could try on my old clothes?
Will I regret getting rid of sentimental things?
Yet, as I loaded my car with mugs, clothes, and home decor I felt so weighted. That load of the things in my car felt really heavy. When I visualize my life I can’t picture having a picture perfect home with decorations for each season. I cannot organize anything. In fact, I hate organizing. Loathe it. I would rather live freely and simply than carry around stuff.
Here is what I am learning. Start somewhere. I don’t have to get rid of everything all at once. It has been a year since I began this journey and I have come a long way. It has taken a lot of work. Minimalism has helped me stay organized and focused on my schoolwork.
A couple of weeks ago I got a Facebook notification out of the blue. A family in hopes of making money for adoption, was looking for donations to have a yard sale. This was my chance. Get rid of everything in my van! I drove off last Friday and donated the last of my stuff. Pulling away hurt. This was the first huge chunk of things I got rid of. It felt like I was giving a piece of myself away. I couldn’t explain it. Why was I this distraught over things I didn’t want? I had grown so attached to material things. I had grown addicted to comfort and stability. Two things that don’t flow with minimalism. After a few days since the donation I felt relief, freedom, and joy. I hope that I continue to value relationships, human connection, and experiences over material items. It hasn’t been an easy process, but so far I would say it has been worth it. I can spend time on the things that really matter, which are not actually things.
There is something you should know if you are going on a minamalist journey of your own. You will not miss the things you decide to donate. After unloading all of the many bags to donate I feel pain and worry. Yet, after two days I can’t even remember what I got rid of. All I know is that I am free. I am free to focus on what is really important, rather than the accumulation of things.