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The Things I Keep

In one week, I will be moving out of my apartment. A week after that, I will be living out of my car with my husband and dog for a couple weeks traveling through Utah, Idaho, and Oregon. As I’m in the middle of the packing process thinking about living with just what we can fit into our car (with the exception of some furniture and small things in storage), I’ve had to figure out what’s most important to me. Out of the things I own (not including what my husband and I share), I’m keeping very few things. Clothing items, my wedding dress for a “Trash the Dress” photo shoot this summer, basic toiletries, books, outdoor gear, my small jewelry box, and my memory box. I had to make some tough decisions about what to keep and what to toss, but here’s what I decided and why:

Keepers:

Photo Albums and Pictures- I have one very old photo album that has been in our family for probably 50 years. It is my Grandpa’s old photo album with pictures of his wedding to my Grandma, her bridal shower, and various camping/fishing trips they went on with family. I also have a couple ziploc bags full of photos from my childhood that are irreplaceable. Obviously, I will continue to keep all of these things for the rest of my life and hopefully pass down to my own children. To me, they are not just things that clutter my closet, but reminders of family members I’ve cherished and who I always want to be able to look at good memories of. I’ve heard other minimalist’s say holding on to these things is holding on to the past too much. I believe it’s good to have reminders of our past and to hold them within reason. I limit myself to one medium sized storage box full and I think that’s reasonable.

Jewelry- I have several pieces of jewelry that will follow me from home to home. The most precious to me is a set my Dad passed down to me when I was 18; my Grandfather’s wedding band and my Grandma’s wedding set. My Mom and Dad also used them until their divorce. I also keep the promise ring my husband gave me before we got engaged and the emerald purity ring my Mother gave me as a teenager. Each of these items holds a place in my heart as they symbolize different places in time that are very precious to me.

My Cameras- I know this might sound like a weird choice, but I have an amazing passion for capturing life’s most beautiful moments. I know I will always have this passion, so I keep my digital camera and my old film camera with me to be able to do just that. After a couple trips of taking photos, I download them onto my computer and we save those onto a hard drive every few months. I always go through my photos when I upload them and delete the ones that I know will just be baggage, and I keep only the essentials, the ones I will look back on with fondness.

My Outdoor Equipment- Most of my free time and money goes towards my hobbies, which usually includes a good amount of outdoor recreation. Though these things can be bulky and annoying to move, I’ve decided that they are essential to my way of life and will always be around. This includes my snowboard gear, my sleeping bag and pad, my backpack, my Camelbak, my tent, and my bikes. These are the majority of large items that I own, but to me, they are also what I spend the majority on my time on so they are necessary.

Tossed:

Scrapbooking Material- I have collected scrapbooking material for three years now and put a lot of money and energy into this hobby. I love being creative and spending time making books out of beautiful memories I have, but I ran into a problem. I realized I was spending so much money and so much valuable present time on memories that had already been created. I would spend a whole weekend day getting two pages down in a scrapbook that would ultimately just amount to being another thing in my home. I also noticed I had all of these great ideas in my head about what I wanted to do, but it was taking forever to get anything done. I starting to feel so anxious whenever I looked at my bag of scrapbooking supplies because I knew I had so much left to do. In the end, I decided I would rather spend precious time on my life as it is now and not spend a whole day in photos from my past.

Hair Products- As a hairstylist, I’ve collected random hair products over the years from contests won at school, former employers, and distributors. I usually give them out to friends or family after they’ve collected under my sink for awhile. Still, I realized that keeping all of those products (most of them aren’t even for my hair type) was just a waste of space. I am no longer going to seek out free products from my distributors and when the offer arises, I will turn them down. I’ve realized there is no point in keeping something “just in case”, so I have gotten rid of all of my hair products except for the dry shampoo that I use regularly for myself.

Old Drawings- The cousins that I’ve been blessed to watch grow up are now 5 and 6 years old. Over the last few years, they have taken to drawing us lots and lots of pictures. I went through a folder that I have for various documents today and realized that I had hoarded so many of these pictures. They are so sweet to me and I love seeing how much the girls have changed even through their drawings, but mostly these pictures end up in the back of a drawer and I forget they are even there. Today I decided to keep one from each of the girls and limit them to that. Their drawings are tucked into a special section of my folder that I reserved for letters from the child we sponsor and they will stay there for good, right next to his.

In life as well as in our homes, it’s important to assess what’s going on. What causes too much stress or doesn’t help you cultivate a healthy lifestyle? What is important enough that it is worth holding on to for good? I try to ask myself these questions constantly with the actions I take in life and the things I allow into my home. Being intentional about taking this inventory regularly (whether you’re moving or not) is essential to living a minimalist life.

**Just a quick note: I will be pretty busy these next couple weeks packing up my apartment, house sitting, trying to work out details on an apartment to come home to after my trip, doing last minute planning for my trip, getting in clients before I actually leave, and working on my book. I will try to post on here as regularly as I can, but please be patient with me in this time! Thanks so much for the constant support!

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