The minimalists, and they know who they are, were right.
My husband, son and I spent a recent weekend purging clutter and junk in our house, in advance of getting new floors installed in the living room, hallway and what used to be our dining room.
I had been clearing out my desk – one desk! – for several weeks. There was “stuff” on it, in it and under it. So much dust! That was a good sign that we hadn’t seen, used or thought about that stuff in a long, long time.
It was embarrassing. This desk and another like it had long taken up space where our dining table used to be.
We took carloads of usable items to thrift stores and two truckloads to the dump.
Two decent-sized boxes of art supplies went in the mail to an art teacher friend in Michigan.
My son and his friends at their new studio were gifted with two perfectly good desks and a filing cabinet.
We gave the old flooring planks, which were solid oak, to a carpenter friend who was thrilled to get it. He told my son he will build us anything we want with some of it, so it is likely to become our new dining table – because we now have our dining room back.
We emptied out the entire living room and dining area of end tables and side chairs, so all that was left was the sofa and a small family heirloom desk. We rolled the piano out of the way and into the laundry room. I was amazed at how large the rooms looked.
The floor installers appeared at 8:30 a.m. as scheduled and were done by 5 p.m.
I came home from work to gorgeous new flooring and a wonderfully empty space.
After the workers left us instructions to tread gently for the next few hours, we went out for a celebratory drink and a bite to eat.
When we came back, we couldn’t stop talking about what we’re going to do with our newfound space now – how we’re going to arrange this and that, and what further purging we’re going to accomplish.
My husband and I sat on the floor for two hours, moving around from place to place that we had never been able to sit before because there was always something there. We kept coming back to how good it felt to be rid of the clutter. And how much better it will be when we continue to purge.
Two days later, we took down a bookshelf we had kept. It just didn’t look right on the newly blank and soon-to-be-painted wall. We saved a few of the books that have special meaning, and packed up the rest to donate.
Here’s what “they” were right about: it feels amazing, liberating even, to not have all that crap weighing us down.
As we can afford it, we’ll eventually get new furniture and curtains and such, and all the old reminders of how we used to live will be gone.
I’m not sure we will ever be so organized and minimal as to have a kitchen drawer with only eight utensils in it, but for this couple of pack rats, we have made huge strides in a short time.
Over the next few months, we’ll be making more progress until we are comfortable that we have kept only what brings us joy or has a specific purpose. That’s how future purchases will be made as well.
To you who know who you are, thanks for the encouragement.