I've fully embraced the minimalist lifestyle. I don't buy much and I get more joy out of getting rid of material goods than out of acquiring them. My philosophy is that if I don't need it, I won't buy it (and I really don't need much). I used to shop as a hobby, to fill time or to fill a void. Now I only go to a store when I have a need that can only be met by making a purchase.
Okay okay, I confess I'm prone to wander Goodwill. I'm not a perfect minimalist.
Soon I'll be making a move that includes crossing an ocean. I don't want to take more than the absolute necessities when I go so I've already started the elimination process. The clothes I'll be taking fit into three drawers. I've designated where much of the household items are going and I've started the Craigslist posting.
Oh but those sentimental items. They sneak up on us don't they? We are just about to put that hat in the donate pile and it nearly screams out like the sorting hat in Harry Potter, "Wait not me! Your dad gave me to you last year for your birthday!". I've found it easier and easier to let go of material things even if they have a considerable amount of sentiment attached to them. I try to remember that the love and memories remain in my heart even if the item is gone.
I tackled the photo albums and boxes. For the first few hours I was doing great. I threw out all the needless doubles I've been carting around for years and even trashed pictures I never wanted to look at in the first place! Why did I have two copies of a fuzzy picture with a finger taking up half the shot? My new plan is to own only the very best pictures and keep them all in one box, no heavy albums to lug around. I was totally in a groove tossing and stacking and organizing.
Until I opened the last box...
There it was. A Bagful of Europe. What is a Bagful of Europe? Oh it's a magical bag full of wrinkled maps, ticket stubs, journal entries, hotel soaps and other various bits and pieces picked up from a month spent traveling with my sister. I looked at that bag and knew I'd met my match. It almost laughed at me in all my minimalist cockiness. The gloves I'd worn during those cold days in Paris weren't worried for a second that they'd join the other winter items in the donation pile. I gently pulled out a few scraps of paper thinking surely I could eliminate something! I was wrong.
And so I leave it at that. I met my match in a Bagful of Europe. It doesn't matter that the memories are all safe in my heart and I have pictures to prove my sister and I created four weeks of unforgettable adventure. I'll be giving away handmade gifts and saying goodbye to books I call friends, but the Bagful of Europe is exempt.
Sometimes right when we think we've mastered a new life skill, the universe puts us to the test. Even the universe would have to give me a B+ on this one.