Getting Rid of Things


I’m sitting cross-legged on a crumpled blanket on the floor of my apartment where my dining table used to be with my keyboard in my lap and the computer on the floor in front of me.

The Salvation Army came today and carted away my dining room table, four chairs, and a large TV console (useless since several months ago when I gave away my large TV. I now have a small TV that I’ve only turned on once in that amount of time – partly because it only occasionally wants to work, mostly because I don’t have cable or Internet and can watch DVDs on my computer. When I get around to moving it, it will easily fit on a bookshelf.)

Most of the rest of my furniture is scattered around in various stages of undress (i.e. it’s taken apart and all of its smaller pieces have already been thrown in the dumpster. The larger bits I’ll be taking to the dump Saturday.)

The only thing I’m keeping is my bed (and I’m seriously reconsidering keeping the frame), three bookshelves, and a nightstand. I’m also going through all my clothes and other belongings and aggressively removing items from my life.

By Sunday, my apartment will look very much like it did before I moved in. I’ve been waiting for this moment for years.

At lunch today I was writing a list in my Bullet Journal of actions I could take to reduce anxiety in my life. Further actions, since I’ve already begun the major one – getting rid of my belongings.

I’ve been wanting to do just that for a long time. At first, I lived with someone who would never have gone along with getting rid of all the furniture. Not that he’s a minority or even particularly unreasonable in this case. And then I was moving from a 3,000-square-foot home to a 720-square-foot apartment post-separation and was already getting rid of so much stuff, it felt a bit overwhelming as it was. And I didn’t know for sure what I would need in my new life.

Turns out, not much.

After a year of living alone in a tiny apartment with two dogs and a cat, I’ve come to the conclusion that less is most definitely more. (Fewer pets, too, but that will take care of itself in time.) Even at 720 square feet, it seems a monumental task to keep this place clean with all the animal hair and the dirt eight paws can carry (SO MUCH DIRT).

There’s a part of me that feels that most grown-ups don’t struggle with simply keeping their apartment clean. How hard is that really? It’s embarrassing. But there you have it. I’m 37 years old, and I despise housecleaning. I hate how furniture tucks away fur and dirt and spiders and fake-god-knows-what in its nooks and crannies that take Herculean effort to get out.

I’m trying to make the cleaning effort more efficient by simply not having furniture. I work two jobs – approximately 65 hours a week. And when I’m NOT doing that, I want to be able to read and daydream and write and make healthy food and workout and well, other stuff, and NOT live in squalor, without spending all my time cleaning. I have a healthy inner (and outer) world to cultivate. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Plus ever since I read Minimalism, I’ve wanted to basically take an axe to everything I own (except the dogs).

So I’m starting over. I’ll sit on the floor a lot for awhile, because I plan to be very careful and cautious about the things I bring into my life (a metaphor if ever there was one). And it won’t be entirely comfortable at first.

But right now I’m sitting on the floor typing away, and it feels right. There’s still a lot of work to do. And a cushion would be more comfortable than this crumpled up blanket. The dogs seem puzzled but not disapproving now that I’ve come down to their world. And I feel more at ease than I have in a while.

It will only get better.

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