The minimalist lifestyle’s unnatural

May 17, 2014

living-2When I visit someone whose house is organized and minimal with plenty of room and white space, well, I love it. I love the idea of living in an orderly place. Where tabletops are mostly empty. Dresser tops don’t have the detritus of the last few days. And the evidence of the week’s cooking spree isn’t on the kitchen counter. I’d love to live like this.



Not my shelves but could be.

I like stuff.

I like looking at old stuff that’s laden with memories.

I like old stuff a whole lot and I just don’t like parting with it.

Then there’s utilitarian stuff.

I like to use stuff regularly, like pens, highlighters, books, kitchen implements, juicers, crockpots, candles…I could go on.


I like to buy stuff. New stuff is intriguing, thought-provoking and can even be useful. Yes, I like to buy new stuff.

I’m trying to break myself of actually buying it but there’s no denying that I like new  stuff.

The fact is I don’t like the look of too much stuff.

Now, we do not have a large house. Sure, it’s a 4BR 2.5BA and it’s about 2600 square feet but really, I have more stuff than can reasonably fit in it.

My dirty little secret is that I also have a storage unit on the Monterey peninsula filled with stuff from my Pacific Grove home that I moved out of years ago.

So I have even more stuff.

I’m not really a hoarder. But I could be. I’m kind of on the edge.

I need an intervention. I really do have to see the need to jettison stuff. Because I can’t see it. At all. It’s like a hoarder’s cloud over my eyes.

Can you help?

31 comments on “The minimalist lifestyle’s unnatural
  1. Pat says:

    OMG I am afraid I can’t give you any help. This sounds too much like me. I can’t seem to part with stuff especially books!

  2. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    Here is how I rid my life of stuff–I give it to the Visiting Nurse Rummage Sale, which, twice annually, creates traffic problems for three days at a major intersection of a nearby town.The donations are tax deductible, and the proceeds are for a good cause, and I know my stuff will find good homes. In fact, I have seen my stuff in my friends homes. The other stuff dump, is my local church Christmas fair ( I run the”antiques and collectibles” booth) and the Spring silent auction dinner. More good homes for stuff. Now I am saving stuff for my daughter, who will be moving into her home own pretty soon, and she will want stuff from her childhood home to ground her in her new surrounds. Half of my stuff is my mother’s stuff and I love old stuff reminding my of old friends and family. Fortunately, I have a plethora of barns that house my remaining stuff.

  3. I just went through a major spring cleaning getting rid of a ton of stuff. So liberating!!!

  4. Julia says:

    I have turned a corner on the stuff issue. I re-framed the issue to one of helping others. If I am not using the stuff (in storage, for instance) then it is easy for me to help others by blessing them with my stuff. But I tend to be someone who holds things loosely.

    I do have things from both my grandmas…things that I won’t/can’t part with. But I don’t have to keep *everything* from them. I have kept things that are special.

    Do you LOVE something? Have you USED it? Do you NEED it? If not…let it go to bless someone else.

  5. Everytime I open a cupboard, I am trying to clean it. What I finally did to make my self part with THINGS was to throw out (or donate or giveaway) one thing a day. You CAN do one thing a day Carol. Try it.

  6. Ruth Curran says:

    A few years ago I would have been first in line to volunteer and might have been a good choice to help you. I’d just downsized from huge house to renting and moving around (5 pretty small places in the last 6 years) and cleaning out my parents lifetime of collecting things — so that cured me of my need to have things around me…. For a while…. But, I got over that…. Now I am refilling my well, however, this time around I call it contributing to the global economy!

  7. Karen says:

    You’ve just hit on my particular problem. I, too, love the look of clean, orderly, and minimal. And yet…my house if full of stuff. Some of it is beautiful, some of it is utilitarian, some is too laden with memories to toss. I’ve been attacking it a bit at a time–a closet here, a shelf there–but it still feels pretty overwhelming. I wish I could give you words of wisdom, but the best I can do is reassure you that you’re not alone.

  8. Roz Warren says:

    I’m a Stuff Liker myself. So I’m going to help you. Sorry! 🙂

  9. Ellen Dolgen says:

    I was brought up by a Mom that taught me that everything must have it’s place. No clothes on the floor during my teenage years! So, the sleek, contemporary look in your first pix is where I feel most comfortable. When my kids were young that would tell people their mom was an “organizer”. I think some folks thought I was a worked in the labor movement and was an organizer for unions!

  10. mindy trotta says:

    Wish I could help. Moving from a 5 BR, 5 bath house to a small-er apartment (across the country) was complete torture. And now we’re doing it again–and still not going home, so all my “stuff” that’s been in storage for three years is still there…waiting for me. I do have to say that for other than the art and photos that are in storage, I could easily not look back even once…but it eventually needs to be reckoned with, and that’s the problem! When you find help, please let me know, because I would love some too.

  11. It’s easy to get attached to things but those memories are still there whether you have the actual artifact or not. I found that out when moving to SC, I didn’t want to drag my baggage (literal and figuritively). I wanted a fresh start. I have stuck to it for three years and I feel so much better. It was actually stressful to be constantly worry about our stuff.

  12. I really struggle with this too, mainly collecting stuff. I think I have finally realized that I don’t need another teeshirt to remind me of whatever place we visit, nor do I need another keychain, although they are easier to store and collect. I don’t need anymore shih tzu figurines or carousel horses or longaberger baskets or fiesta ware that I can’t carry but one plate at a time anyway… And, the only two days of the month when everything is where it belongs is every other Monday when the cleaning ladies are coming. HA! I started doing this for my sanity: whenever I bring something new in, I get rid of two somethings that are already here that have been ignored.

  13. The past two years I have been in a mood to weed out..which is very unusual for me. But, I still like warm and cozy…I am not minimal or modern with home decor. Achieving the balance of just the right amount without going overboard is what I am aiming for currently. Also, for the first time in my life, I have hired housekeeping assistance…and they HATE too much has made me want to take it down a notch for them!

  14. Lisa Froman says:

    I’m a Libra and I like to be surrounded by beautiful things….artwork, pretty pillows, photos, books. But I don’t like clutter…so I tend to stuff things under my bed like I did as a kid, to keep my books and journals out of the way. LOL.

  15. Carol, I need the same intervention. I plan to start small with a closet at a time before I move onto tackle any space larger. Good luck!

  16. Barb Best says:

    George Carlin’s comedy routine on “Stuff” comes to mind. I find I can only be minimalist in a room or two… and definitely not on my laptop. I’m a data hoarder.

  17. I’ve gotten way better at throwing things out although my house is still filled — filled! — with books. The idea of your storage unit makes me feel like breaking out in hives. I bet you could give away the key and never miss the stuff that’s in there!

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