Minimalizing My Space

The End is the Beginning

Today is T. S. Eliot’s birthday, hence the reason why that was one of the first inspirational quotes I came across during my weekly search. I thought it was pretty appropriate for this phase of my life.

So to continue my minimalist journey, the next thing on the list is the Packing Party. This is the major leap headfirst into minimalism. It’s like when the alcoholic dumps all his or her booze down the drain. No hesitations, no turning back.

Now granted, I could change my mind after everything is packed up and put away. I could decide, “Oh my god, this is just too much. I just can’t,” then proceed with unpacking everything. But I think the idea is once you experience what absolute stark minimalism feels like, you’ll probably never want to unpack those boxes again.

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.

T. S. Eliot

When I started, I only did one section of my desk that housed my makeup. However once I threw things away that didn’t have any life left in them, I felt the weight lift off my shoulders. And if it weren’t for the limited space in that one box, I probably would’ve kept going. Because I liked the way my desk made me feel once all was said and done. It made me feel unencumbered and free to pursue whatever I wanted. That’s how a creative space should feel.

Just a sampling of one of the boxes I packed up. This wasn’t even all my makeup, just most of it.

I Must

The first thing I’m supposed to do is come up with my Must List. If you’re curious about what I’m talking about, check out the 21-Day Journey to Minimalism. That being said, here’s mine:

  • I must change.
  • I must stop mindlessly spending money.
  • I must make conscious decisions as a consumer.
  • I must only own things that add value and joy to my life.
  • I must make healthier food choices.
  • I must exercise daily.
  • I must foster healthy relationships and let go of (or set boundaries for) toxic ones.
  • I must spend my device time wisely.
  • I must read and write every day.
  • I must meditate.

Coming up with lists always seems to be a difficult task, but this one magically came together in about 30 minutes with only minor editing. What made it easy was I already had a lot of these things in my head as things I “should” be doing, which is exactly what Joshua and Ryan talked about in their Day 2 post. These are things that are meaningful to me already.

What Else I’m Doing to Move Forward

I’ve already listed items I no longer need or use, things like clothes with the tags on them, tote bags and storage bins that aren’t storing anything and only taking up space. I’ve even listed designer eye shadow palettes that have never even been used. For the items that aren’t profitable or in-demand, I’ve already started generating a pile in the garage of stuff to be donated. or thrown away. You can view some of these items on my eBay store.

“Granular changes produce grandiose results,” I repeat to myself. Each time it’s uttered, it feels more and more like a brick in the foundation of a better future.

Featured Image:
Image by Jess Watters from Pixabay


Journeys Always Start Somewhere

Thursday night, I had a couple hours before bedtime when I decided to browse Netflix. It was one of those rare nights when I was in the mood to not just have something on TV, but to actually pay attention to it as well, as opposed to having it be background noise for some other redundant activity like laundry.

That’s when I discovered the film Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. I remember coming across this movie on Netflix a while ago and making a mental note of it. I figured well now was as good a time as any to watch it. And plus I had a new diamond painting next to my bedside that I thought would be a good side activity should there be any dull parts.

But the thing is: I didn’t even touch the diamond painting.

Living With Intent: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

I’ve always been familiar with the term minimalist. I remember learning about the minimalist movement in an art history class in college. I’ve always considered it being the subtraction of things, which has a very negative connotation. However, this documentary helped me see that it’s not just the subtraction of things, but the addition of things that provide value and meaning. And that to me is when it clicked. I mean, what is this life we live if it’s not valuable and meaningful?

Get rid of the excess. Live with purpose. Make every action count. All of these short, pithy sayings that I’ve picked up over the years, my interest in stoicism, my meditation practice, just everything all culminated to a head in this film.

I feel like this is what I’ve been missing. It’s not that I ever needed more money or a bigger house or even some kind of faraway spiritual experience. Everything I could ever need is right here and if anything I have too much stuff and too much stimuli.

What I need to do is start editing my life, removing the unnecessary until only the necessary remains.

“Granular Changes Produce Grandiose Results”

I listened to one of their podcasts on my way to work the next morning and one of them emphasized that same sentiment. “Granular changes produce grandiose results,” he said. I’ve heard this same idea repeated over and over again in other situations, most recently in my therapy sessions with my nutritional psychologist.

So I’m going to start working through their 21-Day Journey to Minimalism. I skimmed through it and I feel like it’s no different from what I’ve already been doing, except this time someone else has pioneered the trail and I’m just there to follow the map.

The next thing: this website. This website has always been a place where I document my phases, but recently it’s become a place of consternation, stalled growth, and dissatisfaction. I’m going to make it a place for me to learn and to foster and document progress. I’ve already spent some time on it this weekend, now I just need to continue that progress.

What’s Next?

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” I’ll continue to document my journey here using their 21-Day roadmap as a guide. Small changes each day, that’s all I’ll do.

Featured Photo:
Image by KatinkavomWolfenmond from Pixabay

Frozen in Time

There I was out in my garage with tears streaming down my face, desperately searching. Searching for my sanity first of all, but second of all, searching for 3 small boxes that I was praying to find. Why? Because I’d looked everywhere else that morning and I couldn’t remember for the life of me where I had last seen them.

But there they were, stacked on the floor between some other boxes. And my panic subsided.

6 years ago today, my dad passed away. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already. Sometimes it feels like it was just a year ago, but when I think about where I was back then in comparison to where I am today, I know that so much time has passed. 

I’ve been looking at the same photos of my dad for years now. The same ones I have stored on my phone and uploaded to Facebook. I realized my memories were being reduced to just those few photos. That’s when I remembered I had those boxes of photos. So I went in search of them.

The first spot I checked, my office closet, turned up nothing. That’s where I would’ve thought they’d be since pretty much all my junk is in here. Then I checked the bedroom closet but that’s stuffed to the ceiling with suitcases and bins of accessories I haven’t used in years. I started to worry.

I went out into the garage and turned on the light. They had to be out here somewhere, I thought,  this is the only other place they’d be. As I shifted boxes around, I felt the tears welling in my eyes and sobs escaping my throat. I need to find them, I thought. I need to find him.

When we lose someone before we’re ready, our brains freeze that person in our memories. They neither grow older, nor change. No new memories are created, and only old ones remain. This morning, I found myself reliving the same 6 or 7 snapshots over and over again. But I desperately needed different ones. I don’t know why, maybe I just wanted to feel like seeing photos of him that I haven’t looked at in a long time would awaken feelings of newness. 

And there, in the shadow of a stack of plastic storage boxes, I could see the silhouettes of three small photo boxes, one was a glossy white and two were a flat maroon color. There they were. I lifted them out of the shadows and carefully carried them into the house, wiping the tears from my cheeks. I set them down on my kitchen table and started going through them. I remember I had started organizing them with index cards based on general topics, but half of them were still left unorganized, a project long since forgotten. It did not take long to find what I was looking for. 

I thought I would feel better. But as I stared at these old pictures of him, I realized that’s all they were: old pictures. And they would always be that way, no matter how long I put them out of sight. They would not fill the hole left by him when he passed away. I felt disheartened mostly because I wonder if anything ever will. 

Consume Your Craft

*Wave* Hi, there. It’s me. So after 8 long months of radio silence, where do I even begin?

Honestly I’ve been wrestling with a significant case of burnout, which is really very common in my industry. However mine also happened to be fueled by this months-long website migration project I’ve been on at work at least since April. We had to move around 1,800 websites from one system to another. It sounds easy, but it’s not really pick up said assets from point A and move to point B. No, no. It was more pick up from point A, then completely rebuild it on point B. Oh and it can’t look exactly the same as it did when it was at point A.

A project like this normally would’ve taken a couple years, but in our world? 8 months. There were some clients who did not like this one bit and never failed to let us know, whether it be by writing us the most hateful, deriding emails or calling us names over the phone. There were some days where all I could do was cry instead of make dinner.

I’ve always prided myself in having thick skin. Years of art classes, journalism classes, advertising classes, and just generally living and breathing agency life for 15 years has given me the ability to develop it. But this time it was really put to the test.

I began to have a mid-life crisis about my career choice. Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? Is this where I want to be? Do I really want to be hated and bullied and degraded for the rest of my career. Maybe I need something more creative, more enjoyable rather than something that dragged me through the mud every goddamn day.

I believe I have an entrepreneurial spirit. Somewhere deep inside me there’s someone that wants to go out and do her own thing, to be independent and try and succeed on her own. But doing what? I don’t know yet. And “yet” is the operative word.

But right now, my craft is web development, specifically in WordPress. I’ve had a long history with it. I know it well enough to build websites on it, break websites on it, fix websites on it, and make websites on it better. I really need to focus on that.