Hi, I'm Angi
Welcome to my corner of the internet! My passions include travel, photography, books, music, Japanese language and culture, Italian language and culture, and art.

Here at Abbott Lane you'll find my thoughts on these topics and much more. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

The Minimalism Diaries: Letting Go

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in my living room listening to a breezy mix of Brazilian Samba while drinking a beer, and I thought to myself...

This is great. This is all I need.

I've been feeling this a lot lately - deep moments of joy in the simplest of activities. Cooking with friends, laughing with relatives on the phone, reading a book as the sky turns to dusk. It's a light feeling of freedom; a sense that the things that are truly important are incredibly simple and don't require much.

And that leads me to stuff. All my STUFF. I'm beginning to feel overburdened by the items in my home. There are so many things I don't use, or don't even realize I HAVE (this is somehow the more nefarious of the two to me), and I just want to shed shed shed.

I've done this a few times in the past.  I've played the minimalism game, which was a really eye-opening exercise in coming to terms with just how much I had. What's fascinating to me is how, even after having done it and having learned a lot through the process, I feel like I'm back where I was before I started. Consumerist tendencies have crept into my life again over the past few years. 

So the question is - what will I do differently this time? 

More time. One thing is that I'll be a little less hard core about the process. When I first did the game, I felt really REALLY good by the end. Which is great. But it's only a month-long project. So, I have to ask myself - is a month long enough to process the feelings and emotions behind my actions? My reasons for consuming? My reasons for wanting to step a bit further away from consuming? I don't think so. Taking a bit more time, and being more reflective will give me a stronger foundation from which to build this "new" lifestyle. While the scorched earth effect is very satisfying, in order to not return to past shopping tendencies, I need to get to the root of the issue. Taking more time will allow me to think through the "why" of the process. 

More time will also allow me to figure out better ways to discard of things. When I did the Minimalism Game, I felt that I had to get rid of everything QUICKLY, and subsequently I often felt that I wasn't choosing the best outcome. This time around I'd like to donate more, swap more, and join freecycle and Buy Nothing groups in my area, rather than always choose to simply throw things away. If someone else can use an item that's no longer of service to me, it becomes a win-win-win for me, the new owner, and the environment!

Reflection. This goes hand in hand with the above. This time around, as I minimize, I'd like to take time to reflect on the process more. I'm currently in the process of looking for journaling prompts that will be useful touch points for me to check in with myself during the process. Books and literature on consumer culture will also be helpful. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments!

Documenting. I didn't really document my last minimizing project, but this time I'd like to share more about what I'm doing and why here on the blog.

Perpetuity. The last thing I'd like to do is to make sure that this process is one of perpetuity, and not just an "in the moment" project that has me going back to my old ways in a few months. I haven't figured out exactly what this will look like, but one idea that comes to mind is documenting what I purchase - beyond things I need - every month here on the blog. 

And so far, those are my thoughts. Minimizing and moving away from consuming so much is challenging. I hope to share more here in the blog, as a way to offer others encouragement if they're planning on doing a similar project, and as a way to keep myself accountable and encouraged when things are tough.