Going through my bookcase the other day, I came across the literature that rooted the notion of minimalism in my mind years ago. It’s a book by Meryl Starr called The Personal Organizing Workbook: Solutions for a Simpler, Easier Life, published in 2006. Starr had published its prequel in 2003: Home Organizing Workbook: Clearing Your Clutter, Step by Step. Starr had already been an internationally renowned expert in this field.
The passage in Starr’s book that interested me the most was this:
When you walk into a room or open a closet door and you can feel your energy just drop, that’s your signal that you’ve found a perfect place to begin. Enter this problem area, close your eyes, and imagine what that space would look like with nothing at all in it. Just thinking about that empty space, you may notice your spirits beginning to lift already. Next, ask yourself: if you lost all that stuff, what would you really miss? Make a mental list… no peeking!
Based on this philosophy, she succinctly advises on various areas. The closet, for instance. She offers step-by-step guidance:
- Get some boxes
- Empty everything completely off the racks in your closet, and throw it all on the bed where you can see it
- Divide your clothes into categories: shirts, pants, dresses, etc.
- Pick out your favorites in each category… you can put them back in your closet.
- Pull out items you don’t like, things that need repair, and clothes that don’t fit
- Look at the pile you have left over. This is your pile of maybes – maybe keep, maybe donate, maybe sell. To help guide you when going through the items, ask yourself these questions: “When was the last time I used this?”, “Do I love this?”, “Do I have another one similar to it?”, “How does this make me feel?”
I bought Starr’s book in 2006 and did absolutely nothing with it except take her initial quiz, acknowledge that some minimalizing was in order, and then fantasize about doing it. I may have made a false start or two; something held me back from getting started in earnest. Starr’s book lingered in the back of my mind, though, as her book has lingered on my bookshelf. It all came back as I encountered my post-its while flipping through the book the other day.
It’s funny that the one thing I (so far) refuse to minimalize is books, and that’s why I still have Starr’s book encouraging minimalizing!
That bit of personal history aside, on with my minimalism updates! I don’t have many. Since my last update about a month ago:
1). I replaced the high-tops I’d given away; the new shoes provide much better support with their thick, quilted ankles. They actually help me to keep my balance while doing lunges.
2). With reluctance, I went to Target to look for a dress (needed for a specific event), and I DID NOT allow myself to be lured by the camo bomber jacket that Target obnoxiously positioned between the dresses and the fitting rooms. I recognize a trap when I see one. I did not fail at minimalism that day.
3). I combed through our coat closet and identified five pieces of outerwear I can do without. I’d attempted this area before with no success. Meryl Starr’s book helped me over that hurdle.
With the holidays upon us, our house looks less minimal than before. We’ve got our Christmas tree up and decorated, wreaths, string lights, and other bits of festive decor. It’s cheery and fun, but I’m looking forward to baring the house more than ever in the new year.