The Downsizing Dozen: Basic Bliss

anniversary - Version 2

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated 30 years of marriage. The anniversary gave me an opportunity to compare what we had then, to what we have now. And I found us lacking.

We have less furniture now. When I moved in to my new husband’s duplex, I found the usual trappings for a bachelor pad, with the mandatory bookcase made out of boards and cinderblocks, and a mattress on a sheet of plywood. But our friends pooled their meager wages earned as teaching assistants and struggling writers to give us a queen-sized futon as a wedding gift that we used folded on the floor for a sofa, along with the towering coffee table, easy chairs and dining room set that my husband already owned. We were gifted a massive metal office desk that took up half of our spare room and a lovely Victorian dresser that we dragged around the country for 29 years.

We don’t keep unnecessary knickknacks. I brought very little when I moved 900 miles away for graduate school, but I possessed the soul of a collector, determined to scour local junk shops for kitsch to support my “eclectic” interior design plans. As a newlywed, I considered it my duty to transform our modest ranch house into a PeeWee’s Playhouse wonderland, my 1980s TV inspiration at the time. That wacky vision, combined with all the spoils from my in-laws’ big downsize to a retirement community that same year, led to a pretty cluttered and bizarre decorating scheme.

We need fewer clothes. About the only dowry I brought along was a big wardrobe with shoes and accessories, mostly vintage tat and ratty leftovers from college. I never threw any clothing away, even when something wore out, because that’s the way I grew up. My husband was the same way. And in your twenties, I believe style and the way you look are more important than at any other time. All that would change with a new baby several years later, providing very few opportunities to shower much less put together an outfit. But as a newly married couple, we felt compelled to buy more “sophisticated” clothing in rainbow pastels that screamed Miami Vice and shoulder pads the size of boulders to prove our maturity.

We are down to only kitchen essentials. What my husband lacked in furnishings, he made up for in pots and pans. The man wooed me by cooking Sunday dinner with all the fixings after I had nothing to offer but a couple of shriveled up pork chops with freezer burn. He’d inherited many mismatched dishes and silverware, odds and ends from his grandmothers. And I entered my married life with not one but two espresso machines and a demitasse set as wedding gifts, in addition to an addiction to PBS cooking shows. I plunged into gourmet cooking with a passion hotter than any flambé, determined to master the perfect roux, undaunted by a recipe’s 50 ingredients. All of those specialized dishes meant buying more fancy gadgets and better place settings to show off my artistically arranged micro-servings.

Thinking back, there were many other purchases and acquisitions those first few years, including a custom-built bed frame for our first mattress set, a brand-spanking-new car, and a cantankerous Corgi puppy. We finally qualified for a credit card and took on our first loan. We were proud of the parties we gave, the holiday dinners we cooked, and the guests we hosted.

And when we were ready to move 900 miles back to where I came from to start a new life, we realized that the large U-Haul truck we’d rented was too small.

Fortunately, we’ve remembered this moment of truth throughout the years, using it to fuel a shedding process that continues to this day. All the household goods we thought we needed for a successful marriage are no longer necessary. What we lack in possessions, is more than compensated by the love we share, and the trust that we will always have enough.

Well, this is the last of the Downsizing Dozen. If you’ve been following along, I hope you’ve found some value in the details of our journey to a small walk-up apartment in June of 2014 and a simpler lifestyle. We will continue to examine, reduce and relinquish the old while we accumulate new experiences and fresh memories, life’s precious present. My inaugural post entitled Giving It All Away was featured in July, Make It Stick in August, Following Your Feet in September, Case of the Missing Mac in October, Diminished Drumsticks in November, Dwindling Decorations in December, Finding Focus in January, Forgotten Food in February, Travel Time in March, Shifting Into Single Gear in April, and Tiny Tending in May.

The Empty Room

A member of my household moved back to college a couple of weeks ago. But this time, instead of the claustrophobic closet of a dorm room, there is a big apartment to furnish.

Off the walls come the autographed mementos of childhood heroes, yellowing banners of former school victories, the dry-erase board that is still active after all these years, vintage music posters and personalized signs establishing territory.

The dirty clothes have vanished with their hamper, scattered footwear marched off toward winding campus trails or retired to the darkest, forgotten shelves. Chairs, drawing table and lamps have all been whisked away to find new productive lives.

The perpetually unmade bed has left dimples in the carpet to remember it by.

I wander around aimlessly in this small room, suddenly vast and hollow as a canyon, its cloudless blue walls and sand-colored floor containing my desert in parenthood.

Before the empty echoes of the U-Haul fade, another family would find younger siblings lined up to stake their claims, the winds of seniority shifting down the hall to find a new balance.

But at my house, there is nothing to redistribute. Everything has found its place. There is no mid-life hobby busting its seams, or exercise equipment for the middle-aged chaffing at the bit to spread its wings.

And even though I have an unobstructed path, there’s no incentive to vacuum away the traces of childhood.

Maybe tomorrow.

Photo Friday: The Summertime Food

I’ll tell you how hot it’s been. We’ve already consumed two batches of ice-cold potato salad (family recipe) and June isn’t even halfway over. The official beginning of summer is still days away. Something tells me there will be many more to come, an assembly line to red-skinned, soft fleshed, vinegary goodness.

Don’t even bother to peel.

Update: A friend asked me to share the recipe, so here it is (roughly).

Dubin Potato Salad

6 to 8 medium-sized red (or Yukon) potatoes

1/4 to 1/2 cup light mayonnaise or miracle whip

1/4 cup (or more if you like the bite) cider vinegar

1 bunch of green onions

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (less if you salt the potato water)

about 1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons prepared dijon mustard

After thoroughly washing off potatoes, ruthlessly gouging out eyes and fiendishly halving and quartering the big ones, cover the little darlings with water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Then for heaven’s sake turn the heat down, because you don’t want water and foam all over your stove, and simmer until soft (about 20 minutes) or when all the steam has given you a complete facial in the kitchen. Drain and dump taters into a large bowl. Sprinkle cider vinegar while hot (the tubers, not you) and allow to soak in until potatoes are cool. (Do not leave for too long or you will come back to rubberized chunks of putty.) Add onions, celery seeds, salt, pepper, mustard and finally, mayonnaise to taste. Chill several hours. Overnight is even better. Serves about 6 normal people or 2 very hungry Dubins.

Happy summer! Enjoy.

A Minimalist Moment: The Urge to Purge

Some folks march to the fridge and stuff their faces, others hit the bottle, many head out for retail therapy. Me? When I’ve reached the end of my rope, thrown in the towel and broken the last straw on the camel’s back (whatever that means) — I purge.

What do I get rid of? It can be anything that doesn’t move. On its own, that is. Likely targets are those piles of hapless papers, closets full of unsuspecting clothes or maybe the countless bins of well-meaning craft supplies. My merciless roving eye casts about for the next victim to pay for my wrath.

I know this is probably wrong, but I can’t help it. The desire for a clean slate and uncomplicated surfaces takes over and I’m already circling my quarry, hoping to get the unnecessary object out the door before it even knows what hit it.

My rules of engagement:

1. Ask first. If I am not the owner of the offending item, I must procure permission from the perpetrator (this includes the dog).

2. Remain calm. I don’t want to be caught rummaging around in a dumpster at midnight, flashlight clenched between my teeth, with tosser’s regret.

3. Keep a limit. Even though I can’t get enough of those elimination endorphins, it’s no fun to find yourself with nowhere to sit at the end of the day.

Hopefully, after my purging fix I am calmer, a solution has appeared to my problems, the drawers are better organized and my house is emptier.

Within reason, of course.

If you are interested in reading about minimalism in all its glory, Tanja at Minimalist Packrat and Francine of Miss Minimalist have compiled The 2011 All Star List of Minimalist Blogs. There’s 124 and counting, so go click some links!

A Minimalist Moment: The Tannenbaum Tango

Our tree in its younger days.

What did you do on Black Friday? Were you hunkered down in lines outside superstores during the wee hours? Driving from mall to mall to check for any lingering unbelievable steals? Sleeping in because you blacked out on tryptophan? Or were you up in the attic untangling a mass of Christmas lights?

At my house, the day after Thanksgiving was spent setting up our ten-year-old artificial Christmas tree before my daughter went back to school. After growing up in a family nursery where cut evergreens provided a major source of winter income, and years of loyally spending big bucks on tree farms and garden centers in the midwest, I went rogue and bought our one (and probably only) artificial tree in 2000.

The purchase would be viewed as sacrilege by environmentalists and extended family alike, but I figured that since we were going the fake route, why not take it all the way with a decidedly unnatural but beautiful white tree full of gold, silver and purple ornaments with beaded garland. For nine years, this work of art has sparkled in front of our living room window, adding to the decorations outside (strings of blue LED lights).

This year, however, when we pulled out the pre-lit tiers of branches with color codes matching the center pole (no easy hinges on this baby), my husband, daughter and I could no longer deny that the formerly pristine “needles” had browned to a dingy gold. And so, after this Christmas, our one artificial guilty pleasure will be retired.

Which leads to the question of its replacement. Or not. In the quest to conquer clutter in my life, all but the Christmas stash has been ransacked. And now, I have to address the white elephant, or should I say snowman, in the room. (And yes, it includes the Frosty collection that has snowballed over the years.)

This past Friday, already on a roll from decorating the tree, we decided to go ahead and put up all the decorations. And, there was simply not enough room at the inn for snow people, or snow globes, or even the manger. My diligence in purging furniture has led to a holiday housing shortfall. Too many festive guests, so somebody will have to move on to the Island of Misfit Toys (or Goodwill).

Picking out who goes will be difficult, kind of like choosing your favorite puppy from an adorable litter. The stockings will never leave, nor the little wire tabletop tree with blinking lights that my daughter named “Timmy” one year for some reason. Ornaments sporting the big orange T’s of my husband’s favorite team won’t be heading out any time soon, despite a less than stellar football season. The herd of tiny plastic reindeer, with nearly all its fake fur loved off, has already made the trip back to the dorm.

As for our largest symbol of the holidays, both ancient and modern, I’m thinking of taking a sneaky detour from the whole fake vs. real dilemma. I’ve got my eye on one of those old-fashioned feather trees for next year. Made out of genuine wood and fowl and not some cheap plastic imitation, it is still the antique version of an artificial Christmas tree. I’ll think of it as a piece of seasonal furniture that you can take apart and put away after the big twelve days.

Or, I can probably turn it into a handy stool for the rest of the year.

Trash Day Confession

“Trash is such an ugly word.”

So said the sub filling in at the library reference desk one day while I was trying to discard some battered children’s books. There was a box underneath her desk for just this purpose and I needed to navigate around her when I uttered the unfortunate term. While the library system sends most of its gently, or not so gently, used tomes to its own bookstore to help supplement operating expenses, some poor victims just need to be put out of their misery, and fast. It was my job that day to quietly dispatch them to the big dumpster in the sky.

Hearing the sub’s conscientious tone, I immediately felt some guilt. Although, best intentions aside, what was I to do with some ragged copies that had seen better days? Cut around the sticky juice stains and the (hopefully) chocolate smears for pictures to collage on a toilet-paper tube pencil holder? Should I rip off the covers to construct my own accordion? Or, as the ultimate sacrifice, grind up all the pages in a blender to fashion my own paper mache voodoo doll I could enjoy after a particularly bad day with the patrons?

No. Instead, I used the oldest bureaucratic tactic in the book. I simply turned to her, smiled sweetly, and said there were rules for trash, er, books loved a little too much. It was out of my hands, literally. That’s right: I blamed it on the man. Or was it the county?

Come trash day in my suburban neighborhood, similar rules apply for what is offered up on the curb. Every Sunday night or the wee hours of Monday morning (except on noted holidays) weary homeowners drag out their refuse in cans, bags and sometimes dollies, hoping for its acceptance by the huge trucks that rumble up and down our side streets. Garbage is carefully placed at the end of the driveway, not too close to the street to be used for target practice, but not too far away that the workers mistake it for yard decor.

You see, trash placement and disguise is a fine art. (Ever try to throw away a garbage can?) One can hide a lot of sins in the bin, either one’s own trespasses or the debris of passersby who like to use our front yard for a landing strip. Let me make it clear that I never, NEVER, throw away anything hazardous, and I recycle as much aluminum, glass and plastic the center will take.

It’s the awkward stuff like broken bricks, chewed two-by-fours (squirrels), food disasters (though it did look good in the picture), and craft projects gone terribly wrong, that require careful thought. We are not allowed to throw away obvious construction materials or massive amounts of cat litter (I meant to get to the kitty commodes sooner, really I did ). So, if I can chop up the evidence into microscopic pieces or at least redistribute into several harmless-looking bags, I will gradually restore order to my terribly anal life.

Bulk pickup is once a month per household, any week, and if the item is a busted appliance or a castoff piece of furniture, the trash guys are supposed to acknowledge its presence. But, for whatever reason, there are times when that sad couch, kid-ravaged trampoline or the “what were they thinking” bedroom set is left on the side of the road like misfit toys.

Never fear — the Junk Man will come to their rescue. Yes, he is as illusive as Santa Claus, but I swear I’ve seen him once with my own two eyes, driving his dilapidated pickup with a trailer hitched to the back, piled high with all sorts of goodies for the hoarders, both naughty and nice. He grins and waves to me while I stare in wonder at how on earth he manages to pack it all so that chair legs and dismembered lawnmowers don’t fall off into the street.

In the suburbs, it’s cause for celebration (we don’t need much) when one can set out stuff no longer useful, and have it disappear by next morning, off to start a new life with someone who has taken a liking to it. I’ve been working on reducing my garbage footprint for years, making compost, holding countless garage sales, dropping off at Goodwill, creating art sculpture out of cat food cans . . . well, some solutions have worked, some have not. I’m proud to say that most weeks we have one small bag, but could still do better. I’ll continue to figure out ways to deal with what’s left, the plastic especially.

Perhaps one day we will go back to the old ways of making do, using up and wearing out, when ancient landfills will be mined for their riches. But until then–

“Trash.” I secretly slip the word off my tongue as I listen for the garbage truck. It does have a decidedly sinister sound to it.

A Minimalist Moment: What’s In YOUR Garage?

I must confess that I cannot help garage snooping when I go for my strolls around the neighborhood. After all, this symbol of suburbia is the first thing you see when you approach the ubiquitous tract home, and the doors are often wide open just begging for a quick assessment as I walk by. (Don’t worry. I never leave the sidewalk, although tempted.) I’m always struck by the different levels of organization found, and the variety of stuff displayed in these showcases of lifestyle dead ends and buyer’s remorse.

I consider this particular appendage of the average suburban abode to be valuable real estate. After spending four years out in the boonies of a cold climate state garage-less, I am completely committed to using this space for what it was originally intended — horseless carriages. Who wouldn’t want to hop into a dry, relatively warm vehicle in the middle of a winter wonderland, rather than spend five hours starting, brushing, scraping and otherwise resuscitating a frozen piece of metal sitting in the driveway deep freeze? Not to mention digging out the giant igloo created by over-zealous snowplows if you are unlucky enough to park on the street.

And yet, placing one’s car “inside” seems to be a novel idea in the burbs, at least in my neck of the woods. Sometimes, there is one car residing in the 2-compartment models, with the other side piled so high that it would make the builders of the pyramids jealous. Or, the majority of the space is devoted to the enthusiastic overflow from hobbies such as camping, fishing, engine tinkering, paint-by-numbers, drumming or beer drinking. Plus, there’s signs of excessive devotion to the Church of the Everlasting Yard Work with its altar tools of lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, shovels, clippers, edgers, blowers and assorted fireworks for removal of small rodents.

Before you think I am a judgmental jerk for pointing out other people’s annexed sins, I will admit that I am just as guilty as the next suburbanite of cultivating a mess. My family does manage to fit our two cars into a small garage, but it’s a tight squeeze when you add bikes, gardening tools and a grill. We have never been able to bring in the patio furniture for the winter, so we tell ourselves the rusting table and chairs are acquiring a “vintage” patina.

We also have no real do-it-yourself equipment to speak of, which is just as well since there is no space for a workshop. And not much skill as do-it-yourselfers. My husband is an excellent housepainter, however, so we have collected a nice range of ladders and a bin full of painting supplies.

Oh, and don’t forget the gates, crates, feeders and straightjackets (for the people) necessary to care for our animal companions. You throw in suitcases, potting soil, recycling and awkwardly shaped seasonal decorations, and you’ve got overcrowding on the scale of India in your carport. Did I mention that we live in a tri-level house and all THREE attics need a contortionist to access them? A contortionist, I ain’t. Sorry.

So without further ado, here’s my list of rules to stay sane and keep my garage from overflowing to the street and clogging the sewer drain:

  1. Hang em high: Use walls and ceilings whenever possible to get stuff off the floor and onto shelves, hooks and chains. Pegboard is hard to paint but worth the storage. That’s prime space up there just waiting to be utilized.
  2. Paint it light: The use of white or any light color on the garage walls prevents the “black hole in deep space” syndrome. We have yet to implement this trick, but I have seen some very nice examples during my walks. Leftover interior paint will do nicely and not end up in the landfills.
  3. Keep it in: DO NOT, under any circumstance, leave your automobile outside. Once it’s out, like a bad teenager, it may never come back in again. You get used to the extra room, and before you know it, you’re using the ping pong table as a depository for the yard sale you will never have.
  4. Take it out: DO clear out the trash, recycling, leftover party guests and any other jetsam that gets dumped in the garage as a temporary holding cell until you get around to hauling it away in the car or dragging it out to the curb.
  5. Make it nice: My husband is very conscientious about giving our garage a thorough sweep. It’s a good thing too, since I’m lucky if I notice that the kitchen tile has changed color (and no, we haven’t replaced it recently.) I also try to keep anything edible in bins so that we don’t have to take out more unwelcome visitors (see #4).

It is my sincere hope that we can downsize to one car in the future, which will be better for the planet — not to mention our wallets. And if we’re still living here in the suburbs with the all-important suburban symbol, we can finally hold that world championship ping pong tournament we’ve always dreamed about.

Want more? Check out my other Minimalist Moments:

What Do You Give a Minimalist?

Taking On the “100 Thing Challenge”

Traveling Light

Home Impoverishment

My husband and I have lived in our current house for too long. Usually, we sneak out sometime between four to six years, before various basic functions like heat and electricity start to go bad and need replacement.

But we’re getting old, and we don’t move as fast anymore. Our long-range goal is to downsize now that our child-rearing has reached the collegiate level. But before we can sell, we are faced with an ever-growing list of painting, plumbing and other picayune projects.

All the rooms need facelifts to fix their late 90’s color schemes, and don’t even get me started on the remaining carpet. (Most of the downstairs rug has been replaced with semi-wood-looking laminate courtesy of my interior-decorating cat. If he doesn’t like the decor, he pees on it).

The furnace and air-conditioner still work, but are enjoying the twilight of their years, I’ve been told by concerned HVAC specialists. Our hot water heater, on the other hand, sounds like a popcorn machine and the ancient garbage disposal looks like the gaping pit of refuse hell. Throw in flickering lights, ominous chewing sounds in the crawl space and the world’s ugliest ceiling fans, and you can see why we can be caught drooling over those ads for downtown luxury condos with a complete staff at one’s beck and call.

It also hurts to think that we will not see a return for all these “improvements” in the current housing market. Our fear is that the house will need to be perfect just to get a passing glance, and believe me, it is not at the moment. (Why is the cat stalking the fireplace?)

Here is the crux of the matter: Does it make sense to pour money into fixing up houses for other people to buy, and put up with the barely acceptable ourselves for years? Am I not good enough to enjoy a “garden tub” of my own?

It seems like I’ve been sitting in half a cup of water since I was a kid. My dream is to live somewhere, someday, with a decent bathing fixture. Maybe I don’t even need a house — just the tub stuck out in front of a scenic vista like a certain commercial shown repeatedly during men’s golf tournaments.

(Please forgive my brief bathing reverie here.)

Anyway, the fantasy tub will not fit in my current house, so I’ll have to settle for a working shower head and drain. At least I’m clean as I fight the accumulations of hard water stains and calcium deposits. The new muted colors, imitation granite counters, fresh carpeting and depersonalized decor will help to attract the serious buyer, I’m sure. (Don’t all the home staging shows promise that?)

In the meantime, we can stop eating out. Or buying so many groceries for that matter. And who needs gifts for the holidays?

That tub with a view is looking better and better.

A Minimalist Moment: What Do You Give A Minimalist?

Every few months my mother asks me the following: Do you want the ________ that was great-great-________’s? (Fill in the blanks with an assorted array of dishware, spoons, nicknacks and relatives.)

And my answer?

Well, there is a reason why, when my mother visits, she marvels at the empty space in my house.

I’m pretty much over the guilt-in-refusal tactic, but the lady is persistent. I guess my mom thinks she’ll catch me at a weak moment. For the record I have accepted well-loved heirlooms and hand-selected oddities over the years. I enjoy them for a while — and then return them so another relative can have a chance. (Cough)

Her latest offering of monogramed silver plate has prompted me to imagine how difficult it must be to pass along the ancestral hoard to a minimalist in the family. The good news is that, as far as I know, I’m the only one. The bad news is that I’m the only “girl” as my mother would say, and the last possible depository for certain categories like jewelry and similar girly stuff.

There are those out there who would label me an ungrateful wretch, that I should count my blessings there is evidence of my family’s rich history, that it wasn’t destroyed by war or sold for food. (Actually, some of it was, but we don’t know what, so we can’t whine over specifics. Just in general.)

While I certainly understand this point of view, I have also been burned by dragging “priceless” or “antique” treasures through many moves, afraid to sell or give them away because I might incur the wrath of the ancestors.

Believe me. I had no illusions that I was going to end up on the highlights of the Antiques Road Show with any of the family artifacts. But I learned the hard way that beauty (and worth) is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes, there’s a reason why that interesting bed pan of great-aunt Ethel’s or the frighteningly ornate armoire from the Transylvania side is moving on down the family line.

Are any of you having a vision of the Petrie family brooch from The Dick Van Dyke Show? If you’ve never seen “The Curse of the Petrie People” check it out on Hulu (Season 5, Episode 18).

Let’s face it: All the valuable stuff has been sold long ago for food. Or land. Or passage over to a new land. What remains are remnants that hold sentimental value. And if you are not particularly sentimental, then you’re an odd duck. And one of those ungrateful relatives.

What do I value? Family photo albums full (unfortunately) of unknown faces since most of this information has been taken to the grave. My family is reduced to sitting around the table after a holiday meal making educated guesses.

And the most important treasure I keep? When I walked through my grandmother’s house for the last time, I was told to take whatever I wanted, whatever was important to me.

I came out empty-handed.

I already had everything I needed. The gift of memories.

A Minimalist Moment: Taking on the “100 Thing Challenge”

My unending quest towards minimalism and the state of less has led me to one of the most influential leaders in this movement. Whether intentionally or not, Dave Bruno of The 100 Thing Challenge phenomenon laid the gauntlet down for minimalists everywhere to take stock of their belongings, set a limit to those items and try to live with that number for a certain period of time without accumulating more.

Yes, that’s right. He asks you to list every single thing you own, or at least attempt it. As you look around your humble abode, you may be thinking “What the? That’s a recipe for insanity!”

So, of course I had to try this exercise.

Dave does provide some rules to keep frustration and suicidal tendencies at bay. For him, the experiment lasted one year and he gave himself permission to bend or break the rules as needed. As a family man, he only counted items that he personally owned, leaving out all the furnishings and household goods he shared with the wife and kids.

He also groups pesky multiples like socks and undies as one item, and techie items include their accessories. Books and collections may or may not be counted as one. Obviously, he encourages participants to create rules based on their own situations, which has prompted critics to point out whether a game with self-enforced refereeing constitutes a challenge.

Of course, the location-independent minimal extremists have taken it to a whole new level, pushing themselves to 75 or even 50 items on their microscopic lists of worldly possessions.

As for me? As a middle-aged boomer with a house and a husband and too many pets, my personal list comes to around 150, which includes a car and a ukulele. It does not include an extensive CD collection which is slowly becoming digitalized, or an accurate count of my paperclips and staples.

And, no, I will NOT list all 150 items on this blog. (I’ll wait until I’m down to 114.) And, yes, I have every intention of shrinking this list rather than growing it. For every item added, I will let go of one (or more) possessions.

Anyway, I think the anal among us (of which I am a card-carrying member) miss the point of Dave Bruno’s idea. It’s not about creating the world’s smallest or most essential list. He’s asking you to take responsibility for your stuff by making a list, and to physically write it down for you and/or all the world to see–and to acknowledge his three R’s:

Reduce (get rid of some of your stuff)

Refuse (to get more new stuff)

Rejigger (your priorities)

For me, this literal writing of a list was a pain in the patootie, and an excellent opportunity to really “feel” the amount of my stuff as I wrote it out by hand. I could even pause in my practice to purge something that wasn’t worth adding to the list.

And sometimes my hand refused to write an item down. (Ooooh, creepy, is it not?)

I, for one, think that everyone should give Dave Bruno’s 100 Thing Challenge, and anti-accumulation, a chance.

Want more? Check out my other Minimalist Moments:

Traveling Light

Organization–Do You Need It?

Hobbling the Hobbies