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The Magic of Minimalism

One of the great frustrations of my childhood was my father's hoarding disorder. Even today at 82 years of age, despite our mother's many requests to slowly donate his countless stacks of heavy textbooks to a local theological seminary, he refuses to take action. As is typical with those who have a serious hoarding problem, he hasn't opened the vast majority of his mountain of books in many years.

Several years ago, in seeing how much his hoarding was affecting our mother's health, I offered to take on the heavy task of packing up and transporting his unused books to a seminary, explaining that if I didn't do this, it would become an enormous burden to us after he goes to heaven. He flatly denied my offer, and it was then that I realized that he doesn't feel a twinge of worry over the burden his books will pose on those who remain after he passes.

For those who value the many health benefits of minimalism and living in a clean and uncluttered space, here are some guidelines on periodic decluttering, things that I follow about once a month:

1. If you haven't used an item over the past 12 months (all four seasons), it can go.

2. For items that aren't used regularly, ask yourself if it serves your health, happiness, or financial well-being. If not, it can go.

3. Prioritize keeping one quality item that you need rather than multiple poor quality versions of it. For example, a really good knife rather than 5 dull ones.

In decluttering our lives and saying goodbye to most material possessions that we truly don't need, there is so much to gain through freedom, focus, and a spirit of gratitude.

For those who have a family member with a hoarding issue that is affecting others, if rational conversation doesn't lead to improvement, I can only suggest what I recently decided to do:

Each time you have an opportunity, remove one or two boxes of clutter without talking about it. Clearly, this should only be done with items that you are certain haven't been used in many years and won't be missed. And it's prudent to thoroughly inspect any such items before donating them, as it's possible that the hoarder has forgotten about something of value that they've hidden within the item, things like letters or money.

If the video above on Fumio Sasaki's shift to minimalism has you curious to learn more, I think you'll enjoy his book:

Goodbye, Things


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Less is more is very true, We live in a consumer shopping society where advertising
pushes us to have and buy more. Just one simple example, I live in a town where snack foods are made. I do not eat potato chips or pretzels but you can find them here in the supermarkets, probably 14 different flavors, and 8 different manufacturers in the USA who make them. We seem to have gotten away from basic simplicity in so many ways!.
It took me years to pare my stuff down. I now own about 20% of what I used to and I feel much lighter and free-er now. Moving several times gets you to evaluate everything you own. I did read THE LIFE CHANGING MAJIC OF TIDYING UP by marie kondo, and that was one great bit of information that helped. I also like looking at the tiny houses, maybe 300-400 s.f., although I do think they are way too narrow. I like lots of land with a well designed interior in a small house, maybe 600 s.f.
Thank you again for interesting suggestions, namaste', rachel

I often read minimalist & decluttering articles for inspiration.
Yet I am still waiting for one that addresses the flip side of the coin!
We live on a tiny island where shipping & import duties are astronomical. We have no craft stores & everything is very expensive.
I have crafted all my life & my interests are wide & varied. I drift from polymer clay, to resin, to paper, sewing & everything else inbetween! Over 40 years I have amassed what amounts to a decent craft store of supplies in itself lol!
I had a child that caused me to not do many crafts for many years as I became focused on parenting, then I began to be aware & feel guilty over the storage of them. Yet now that my child is a teen she herself is so happy I have such things available - whatever craft she wishes to try her hand at, more than often I have what is needed!
We watch US based craft videos & dream of popping in to a thrift or Dollar store to try out the ideas presented there. We long for the supplies so readily available at Michaels & other large outlets.
I cannot imagine what single thing I could purge from my supplies...unless perhaps the glues & clays that have aged & hardened!
I think this is why crafters are renowned for their attraction to storage systems - we love order & it is very soothing to know where to lay your hands on something you've had for decades. Creativity needs fresh things, but when you keep them long enough they transmute into different effects by the style of use.
Aslo, if I could find a way to market the thousands of valuable classical CD's my father left on his passing my daughter would be free of the boxes they are currently in under her bed. They are too obscure for local friends to be interested, yet too valuable to throw away but not valuable enough to ship to a least I have not discovered a way yet. So we remain somewhat stuck there. along with the memorabilia that only I seem to care about, since my family has mostly passed on.

It is very hard to know what to purge when you see value in so many things.

I completely, COMPLETELY identify with your post about craft hoarding. I'm currently sitting on my patio, drinking my morning coffee, trying to put a game plan together for the day on how to purge/organize my amazing craft supply inventory. We're "lucky" to have space for all of it but I put 'lucky' in quotes because space is a dangerous thing when you're a multi-passionate creative. I too have many varied interests. I sew, paint, reupholster, I'm a metalsmith and woodworker, the list goes on for days. It's such a relief to read your post and know I'm not alone. I agree the most with the happiness you allude to when you know you can repurpose or just play with the many varied things you have in your 'home craft store'. I'm enamored by those who live minimalist lifestyles but I've decided it isn't the life for me. My crafts are cognitive stimulants...exactly the kind of things that keep us sharp and alert as we age.I watched my grandfather slip away into his own world and dementia consumed him shortly after moving and losing access to his woodworking garage where he made thousands of things for friends and family over the years. He had nothing to do, nothing stimulating the juices that make us thrive. So, in short, you keep that craft shop going girl. I support you!!!