Most people who know me know I’m a huge pack rat… of things both physical and digital. However last week I stumbled on to a blog post about “minimalism” and ironically it really caught my interest! One of the key things about the article that got my attention was the fact that it was pairing up concepts like “getting more done by doing less”, “surround yourself with only stuff that matters” and other normally lame cliché phrases with tactical instructions on how to actually achieve those things. So – in standard OCD fashion I proceeded to devour as many “minimalism” guides/articles I could find and by the weekend I had read enough to know I wanted to try it out.
Most “minimalism” guides I’ve read so far recommend starting small by picking 1 room of the house to start on vs. trying to tackle whole house at once… so I decided to attack our 3rd floor. Here’s what I was dealing with “before”…
After spending every minute of my (scarce) weekend free time I made some decent progress. My efforts had produced ~7 full hefty trash bags of stuff, an impressive stack of broken-down cardboard boxes and various junk computer equipment (dead printer, empty computer case, old sound cards etc). I even got rid of %30 of what was in the storage closets too!
So what filled up all those bags of trash? Well – it was quite a varied list of things
- Stacks old sound/video cards
- Useless computer cables/peripherals
- Stacks of obsolete software CDs
- Misc college junk
- Sega Dreamcast & Peripherals
- Empty electronics boxes
- … and much more!
Here are a couple “after” photos
These photos are just of my desk but I “minimalized” the entire attic – so now there is nothing just “lying around” anymore – everything is tucked away in an appropriate drawer, shelf etc now.
Another big moment during all this was the act of packing up all my beloved “nick nacks” and other “collectible” items – one of the biggest being my mountain of [World of Warcraft] stuff. I’ve been away from the game for a few months now – and don’t rule out a possible future return – but according to the minimalism rules I couldn’t leave this pile of stuff lying around.
Packing my WoW stuff up like this was a big deal – almost felt like I was putting all my WoW friends in a bag and sending them away forever. Of course I didn’t throw this stuff away! It’s lovingly tucked away in an attic storage closet now – hopefully there is enough air in there for them to breathe.
Being a self-admitting OCD-prone person I realize this could all just be a “kick” that I could possibly abandon one day – but it’s hard to imagine that now because I am really enjoying the feeling/concept of it. Another good sign is that I’ve already taken my zeal down a floor and attacked my wardrobe closet and my side of the master bathroom. I tossed ~50% of the clothes in my closet and did the same with my side of the bathroom! My bathroom sink counter now only has a bar of soap on top! Crazy – and awesome.
On the surface I know this looks like I’ve just done some spring cleaning – but the twist to it that has me semi-addicted is this notion of “throwing away the junk you don’t need”. Plus, I find the minimalism concept of keeping most flat surfaces clear (“decluttering”) fascinating as well. Who knows – maybe this is me having a nervous breakdown – but all I can think about right now is… what room do I attack next! (garage, kitchen, ?).