Simple but not easy: My January Minimalism Challenge Part III

‘It’s important to own your things, and not to let your things own you’

~ Stephen Humphreys (aka Hub)

It’s week three of my January minimalism challenge, finding stuff to get rid of on the basis of one thing for day one, two things for day two etc.

In my last post, I highlighted the ways in which I had reached the 15 day milestone.

This week, for days 16-22, the challenge was to find 133 things to trash, donate or sell.

This proved to be both easy and hard.

I decided to get to work on my jewellery box.  I have accumulated a vast collection of lovely jewellery over the years.  Here’s my tray of earrings for example, all carefully sorted into colours, earring types etc.

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The trouble with this?  I could not see the proverbial wood for the trees.  Even though I have had all this choice, I have increasingly tended to wear just one pair of simple silver earrings in recent years.

So this tray was an ideal candidate for the minimalism treatment.

The Minimalists say that “minimalism is not about deprivation: it’s about finding more value in the stuff you own”.  When I started sorting through all these earrings, I found many beautiful things that had got buried and forgotten.

After some careful sifting, the result was this:

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I now have a small number of earrings that I really want to keep and, yes, will actually be able to wear.

I also have 145 items that I do not need or want.

Happily, I discovered that The Alzheimer’s Society has a jewellery recycling scheme.  I have already sent off for my envelopes for posting everything to them.

Deciding what I wanted to keep was simple.  But the overall process was by no means easy.  I had to deal with overwhelming guilt and shame.  I was disgusted with myself for wasting money on all these pointless things.  I felt devastated that I had that small but lovely collection of earrings, many of which Hub had given me, that I had completely forgotten about and had not worn for years.  It seemed so ungrateful, so profligate.

But dwelling in the past over things one has or had not done is pointless.  I have worked on forgiving myself and moving on.  Focusing on the here and now, I can be pleased that I have, albeit belatedly, realised the importance of owning only those things which bring genuine pleasure and/or are of useful value.

I’d like to give a big thank you to my wonderful husband for all his understanding, support and love, all of which are unconditional and not tempered by my (former) spending and hoarding habits.

I am incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful marriage.  Love is, of course, the only thing that matters in the end.

 

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21 thoughts on “Simple but not easy: My January Minimalism Challenge Part III

  1. It is a joy to read this, you are doing so well with this challenge. So it is also so helpful to have someone supporting you / loving you there. It makes a big difference. Your love is most precious!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ute is perfectly right – I agree with her completely! You are also very brave not only to make these difficult decisions but to tell us everything afterwards! I’m a hoarder and I have also spent money on things that in retrospect, I shouldn’t have. I think that at some time in our lives most people must have done one or other of these things. With regard to your lovely ear-rings – from what you have said I know you have been extremely busy at work until recently when you reduced your hours. I am sure, like most working women, you had very little time to get ready for work and certainly wouldn’t have had the time to sort through all your jewellery to find different ear-rings each day. The plain silver ones were ideal because they were so practical but also attractive. Now that you have the time to sort through your possessions you are finding the things you had no time for while you worked. You shouldn’t feel guilty about them; you really shouldn’t ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for these touching and supportive comments, Clare, which I really appreciate. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to share our thoughts and experiences like this. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. P.S. I meant to add ‘full time’ after ‘worked’!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done on your continuing mission towards minimalism. It’s funny, I don’t own much jewelry so I thought this post wouldn’t really apply to me. I have a pendant that I wear everyday, and can’t wear earrings as my ears swell up as soon as I put any in (so annoying!). However, apart from a few pieces that I might not wear but have sentimental value, I have a small collection of earrings that I long to wear but never will due to the allergic reaction, and a few bits and bobs that I’ve held onto for years that I never wear so there’s absolutely no point in keeping them. So, you’ve inspired me to have a clear out. it might not be the biggest haul in the world but it’s still clutter cleared that will help me appreciate the things I choose to keep even more. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so pleased, Sarah. I am sure you feel the benefit of passing things on, both in terms of not having the burden of them in your life, and in the knowledge that others can benefit from them in some way. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the way that you’ve connected together the act of minimalism with the experience of minimalism. Much food for thought 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sandra – I appreciate your noticing this 🙂

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  6. Dear Liz, sorting your jewellery was wonderfully brave. I am not ready to tackle my stash yet. But it is going to be lovely to wear the pieces you have elected to keep. Dress up your ears, and take Hub out for a date night in celebration of your hard work. I stumbled badly with the challenge yesterday and today. But I have at least done a lot of tidying up on my computer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A perfect idea, Mandy, thank you! Don’t beat yourself up about these last couple of days – you have been doing extraordinarily well. And digital things count just as much as physical ones. 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Liz. The dust on some of the stuff I dealt with on Saturday really was a bit too much. I needed a breather!

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  7. You’re really making this work! Jewelry is hard–so many sentimental aspects, not to mention the monetary value of some of it. But you keep moving forward, and you’re learning a lot about yourself as you go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Kerry! Who would have thought that doing a bit of sorting out could be so profound! 🙂 x

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  8. It’s the same with books, so many buried treasures, the accumulation and so on and the feeing of guilt but as you ay what is done is done, it made sense at the time and they ge to be recycled so it is all good. If you didn’t have all that jewellery, you wouldn’t have learnt the lesson so that is a positive too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such a great perspective, thank you! 🙂

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  9. I did this when we moved to a new home. It was tough having to decide which one stays and goes. Now I rarely buy stuff anymore unless I really need it. Lesson learned the hard way for me😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s surprising how hard all this is, isn’t it. For me, now that I understand that it is possible to have a different mindset, I have a new perspective on the things I own, or might prospectively own. That does not mean, however, that I always know what to do! Thanks for stopping by – I appreciate you taking the time to comment. 🙂

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  10. In the past 2 years, hubby and I have packed up the belongings of both of our mothers. One mom went home to heaven, the other struggles with Alzheimer’s and is longing for her heavenly home. In the process of all that packing and downsizing, I became more cognizant of my need to do likewise. I appreciate your good example…I’m pretty sure I could match your 145 items.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the trouble to comment. It sounds like you are having a tough time. If you have not already seen it, you might find this article from The Minimalists website to be of interest. I was struck when I read it by the truism that memories of people lie within us and not within their stuff. Sending my warmest wishes to you for dealing with everything you have to cope with. http://www.theminimalists.com/dealing/

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