Saturday, September 19, 2015

What We Do, Not What We Have: An Ode to Cutting the Crap


I'm really starting to go all real-food, thrifty, minimalist, hippie over here. And I'm loving every minute of it.

Overall this summer, I haven't eaten so great (I bombed out on the whole 30 after two weeks).

My room has been a constant mess.

Setting up a new routine has been hard.

And we've been really, really busy....so our house is just filled with piles of junk.

And it's overwhelming. It bogs me down. I hate the digging, and the stepping over, and the shoving. I don't like forgetting what I own. I don't like having to think really hard about what I need, or where I put something, or what I'm eating because I have no idea what's in the fridge.

And it really wasn't until the past couple of weeks that I stopped and thought about it. This overwhelm, this block, is because I'm not in control of my stuff. I've allowed material things to dictate how I'm living, rather than my life dictate what I use.

And we think the answer is to clean. And we think the answer is to go on a diet. And we think the answer is to get up earlier. And we think the answer is to make more money. But it's not.

The answer is to simplify. To set off with intention, approach everything with mindfulness. To know that less is so, so often more than enough. To find that peace and contentment.

I fully realize this is all very vague and flowery. And I apologize for that. There is grit here, I promise.

Let's talk food. Did you know that most produce we consume are hybrids, specifically bred to make bigger, prettier fruits/veggies? And that because they're hybrids, most aren't capable of producing seeds that will actually germinate? There are less than five seed banks in the US with actual, heritage seeds. What we are eating is physically unable to sustain itself. Since when is that food?

While I was on the whole 30, I started eating Larabars, since they were the only 'granola bar' available to me. It took me a bit to get used to the taste, but now I'm a total convert! I love them because they are simple. The ingredients listed on their Cashew Cookie are literally dates and cashews. No exaggeration. Compare that to the Nature Valley bars I'd been eating....where the second ingredient was sugar. Larabars add no sugar or preservatives to anything. It's just food.

Let's talk stuff. I'm a chronic cleaner. I love organizing and I really like cleaning and I love sorting things out into boxes. But this week, I've turned into a lunatic. All those years of me 'organizing' were for nothing, because all I would do with my stuff is re-sort it into neat piles. I was always saving things...scraps of ribbon, old papers, clothes I wish fit me. So all I was really doing was moving stuff around, and calling it a purge!

Well this week, I was so done that I just got up and attacked my closet. The closet that, as of June, I had just re-organized.

From that closet, I filled two boxes to drop off at the thrift store. I filled a whole clean out bag from thredup. I put all of my vintage things (except three pairs of gloves) into a sell pile. I got rid of skating dresses I had for shows and only wore once because I considered them horribly ugly, but had for some reason kept for years.

Shoes before.
I discovered I had 25 pairs of shoes. That's pretty impressive seeing I wear 3 distinct pairs, max, a week. I whittled it down to 12.

I found out I have 24 blouses. I got it down to 12.

I got rid of my cranberry dress and black dress, which were so me when I was off at 8th grade and freshman dances and so...not...now.

And I hung everything back up on only one side of the closet. I can't wait to see how much space there is when I get rid of all the stuff that I'm selling!

Shoes after.
Let's talk money. I cover a lot with my paycheck, through personal choice. I want to be taking care of myself as much as possible, not just mooching off my parents. So this is not me complaining! But, like, payday comes and it's gone in a heartbeat. How am I supposed to save? How am I supposed to have money for things that matter, and pay off long term, even though they seem really expensive now?

What it means. I'm a bit jumbled (as you can tell!) but everything I've thrown out there comes back to one main point: I want my life to be about what I do, not what I have.

I should buy what I buy intentionally. I should keep what I keep intentionally. I should toss what I toss intentionally. I should consume what I consume intentionally.

And yes, sometimes the intention is just to be beautiful. I fully believe that. Sometimes you don't need an accent pillow right there...but, you need an accent pillow right there. I believe that.

But what I don't believe is that I need six. And that I should buy extras so I can swap them out every few weeks. Or save my old ones so I can re-purpose them at an indefinite time in the future for an indefinite project.

Because cutting all of that saves time. It saves energy. It begets good habits. Like maybe if I didn't have to move laundry every morning to have space to do yoga, I'd actually do yoga. And maybe the solution isn't putting my laundry away at a specific time each day...maybe it's cutting the amount of clothes I have so there's just less of it. And putting it away isn't a chore.

And, I think, they key to all of it is putting our focus at the work. I want to work hard. I want to do great work. I want to create things and do things that matter. But I need space for that. I need energy. And letting the million and one little decisions of my day bog me down...is just another way of letting my stuff control me. It keeps me from my purpose.


I want to eat real food. I want to experiment with new recipes. I want to have food that actually expires, and I want to use every last piece and not waste so much of it. I want to eat something, and not have a huge pile of trash left behind.

I want to stop sifting through my clothes for ones I like and just like my clothes. I want to stop having to think about outfits and instead just put stuff on, because I know they work. I want to stop feeling guilty every time I spend money on a new pair of pants, because I know that I'v budgeted it, and that those pants are perfect, and I'll wear them until they die.

I want to be looked at, and be seen as strong. As funny. As purposeful. As kind. As unique. I don't want to be looked at and all you see is my heavily branded bag and heavily shadowed eyes. I want to be pursing my passions...not talking about my passions. I want to be living, not existing.

I want to be real. I want to be raw. I want to cut the filler. And just be in touch.

Come be minimalist with me. We'll make paleo cookies or something.

Happy Weekend! xoxo

1 comment:

  1. This is such an inspiring post. I definitely need to cut some of the crap from my life. I have a few areas that are junk holders that definitely need to be looked through.

    Keep up the good work:)

    ReplyDelete