Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The Dave Bruno 100 Thing Challenge (Part 4) - Doesn't Matter If We Don't Make Lists

Due to recent upheaval in my personal life, I never did continue the series about the '100 Thing Challenge' but now that I am finally trying to settle back into a routine, it is time to turn my thoughts back to how Minimalism, even maybe extreme Minimalism, could better help my life and even sanity.

Suffice to say, despite my pride in being what Westerners would definitely call a Minimalist, hauling all my stuff from one home to another more than once in the same year (and knowing I need to do it all over again in some months) has made me question even the items that do remain.

So rather than, as initially planned, going into the whole 100 item list that I had promised to write, I will instead be commenting from experience as to what i actually think I would keep and what I should part with.

Though my list of 'types' of items is in no particular order, I can definitely say that clothing items (including shoes and bags) do top my list of things I am in love with. Also, for the purpose of this exercise, I do not mention electronics simply because they are part of my every day and my work and would be useless to even contemplate removing them. In fact, on the contrary, I have to say that since I switched to a smart phone only a year and a half ago (yes you read that right!) and getting 3g on my phone as of September last year (again, that is not a typo!) my life has become much easier as I can get stuff done on the go.

So here it is, my life's worth of things that remain and whether I plan to keep or not:


Clothes, Shoes, Bags, Accessories including Jewellery

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Not only do I plan to keep all I own, but this is one area where I realised I honestly don't mind adding on, simply because I love clothes and dressing well, have my own style and would never keep clothes I don't want anyway. One item I might be able to reduce on in this section is scarves. I realised when I last moved house that I hadn't really worn many of them in a year so come winter I will be ruthless with which ones I will actually keep.

Craft Items

Now this is a tough one. Realistically, I should part with practically all the items I own, simply because they rarely see the light of day! However I am fascinated by the embellishments I do own and must admit my hand-decorated candles are amazing pieces so truly, the artist in me doesn't really want to say goodbye. Unfortunately they aren't much use sitting in dark drawers in my wardrobe though!

Stationery including Wrapping Paper, Cards for all occasions and extra Office Supplies

These are all consumables so really I could just let them run out and not replace apart from a couple of spare items just in case. However I need to admit that I am one of those Minimalists who are anyway always worried of running out of something they need. Add to that, I do love a pretty wrapper and my crafty mind tricks my itchy hands into grabbing it each time at the shop.

Files

These are a category of their own as I have so many and they are full of documents. Unfortunately after I KonMari'd my bills I did get asked by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority to provide a Water and Electricity bill that was 'over one year old'. Oops! Thankfully, after dejectedly confessing to my ex-husband that I don't keep bills for so long, I found one that was just above the one year old. Yippie! Thank goodness I hadn't been through my files to purge yet that month! So I am guessing these will have to stay. That said, I have multiple files with notes, research and drafts of articles that I would be working on and must find a more user-friendly solution for my messy mind and way of working. Maybe I should get used to leaning on electronics a bit more.

Decorative Items

By European and American standards, I have only a few. If I were to think in terms of Maltese standards, I have even less!! Yet from an extreme Minimalist point of view I might have a few too many. However I can honestly say that I only keep those that I truly love as a rule. Anything that causes me to think of bad memories is quickly out the door as are any items that don't really tickle my fancy. I follow the KonMari method to the letter when it comes to this type of personal item. In fact, when I packed my things from the matrimonial home I shared with my ex husband, I only chose those decorative items that brought me joy and left all else, regardless of whether I was leaving behind items that were expensive or pretty. Even in cases when I liked an item but had bad or even sad feelings attached to it, I left it behind. I have to admit adding to my total number of items in this category since I left my old home. However I make sure to buy items only if they spark joy and feel like they would be a part of 'home'.

Kitchen Items

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I listed this section right after Decorative Items purely by chance and yet it is in reality a continuation of that previous section. For as a rule and as much as possible, I try to buy kitchen items that are not only functional but also pleasing for me to look at. I've got some lovely colourful bowls but rather than keep them in the dresser I plan on using them to eat my cereal in every day once I have my own kitchen. Same goes for the vintage reproduction glasses and mugs I got. My guests won't be the only ones to drink their tea from pastel-coloured mugs and their orange juice in the colourful glasses. This means that my kitchen items, neatly tucked away not only in closed cupboards but also behind beautiful glass doors, do double duty and I have no need for pretty items that sit there doing nothing all day. That said, some kitchen items are purely functional and still have a place in my kitchen and I must say that I am very much missing the strainer that is packed away somewhere right now as the kitchen in my rental home has none and I did have to get a new peeler since it was the easier choice between buying another and having to open up all the boxes sitting in the garage to find the one I had! Then again, a second peeler is never a loss in my house as I use it all the time and have found myself at times pulling it out of the dishwasher before it has been washed.

Books

One of the hardest type of items to part with not just for me but for most Minimalists. Books seem to have a soul and cry out when they see that you might be putting them on the 'no' pile. I have to say that KonMari works on most of my things but when it comes to books, even the ones that give me no real joy to hold in my hands still have a habit of guilting me into putting them back on my shelves (or in my boxes currently). I should learn to become more ruthless unless I want to find myself with boxes of books even at my new home where I know that realistically library space will be limited unless I want books to take over various parts of my home. Discipline is key in everything so maybe I should listen to my heart rather than mind in this one case.

DVDs/Blu-Ray Discs

No way will I part with most of the DVDs I own and no way will I promise to not buy more! That said I have mixed feelings about holding on to movies and series that made no impression on me just because they are part of the filmography of that actor or another and I'd bought them to continue my collection. The word 'collection' here may be key and justify having some unappreciated guests in my film library.

Toiletries and Makeup

Maybe this section should have come directly after Clothes but as I said already above I
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made this list in no particular order and decided to leave it here at the bottom if only as food for thought. Why would I not even remember it till the very end? This confuses even myself as I love my makeup and do need some facial products due to very sensitive skin. I also think this section should include items such as my hair drier, my brand new straightener and my well-loved much-used epilator. The mention of these three items makes me realise this section should go at the top but maybe the reason I forgot all about it till now was that my use of makeup has dwindled over the past couple of months and I have found people find me no less attractive for it. Add to that, I actually prefer people who stick around regardless of whether I have make-up on as it says something about them after alll. That said, I do understand that deodorant is a must and I don't blame people if they left my side should I ever decide to minimise it. XD


Saturday, 4 August 2018

One Month Later

So it's been a month since I moved home. I was back then full of expectations and looking forward to a new kind of life as I'd never lived totally away from any family before, first being a child and then getting married young before having had the chance to move out of mum's and test my waters, then back to mum's after the separation and with a kid in tow. Currently can't exactly say I am living 'alone' as flat-sharing but we all do our thing, no commitment to each other or anything, just three girls sharing a kitchen, bathroom, balcony and washing machine.

A month ago I told a close friend that I intended to write a book about this year. I still think about it sometimes. But realistically I do not have the time to write the book and also keep up my other writing commitments. I might have de-stressed a bit from my previous situation but I am still quite bewildered by life and trying to keep sane. In fact, the whole point that I thought this an experimental year worthy of a book is precisely because I still seem to be learning about life and being an adult as I go along. Some of you might say that no one ever knows everything about life and how to live, but I mean it literally that I need to learn how to live as an adult. Maybe that is one reason it is never a good idea to get married young. Cocooned in a one-of-two environment you can never discover yourself and your life projections and experience life as a person totally. Whilst it is true that I cannot turn back the clock and tell my younger self to get married later (or maybe not at all?) I can still start a new chapter, even a totally new book, right now in my life. So whether I do write it down to publish or not, the as-yet-unwritten book is there in my head, its narrative unfolding in the life that I am living in my day to day.