Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Good, the Ugly, and the Why Did I Buy This?

Our previous discussion, I believe was about starting or 'trying' to adapt a minimalist lifestyle. I want to laugh and cry at the same time. But I've got it going, People!

Procrastinated as long as I could while I didn't have writer's block, took every call, ran every errand, and cooked every meal. I did my best until I just couldn't ignore the closet one more day. It called my name in the middle of the night....three weeks ago. Not my fault! Somewhere in there was a trip to Quebec and a bout with bronchitis. Who wants to clean a closet like that?

I am not too proud to say there were items in that closet from the early 1990's. On the other hand, I found my favorite lipstick in a pocket that I thought I'd lost! Gotta look on the bright side!

This was a mind-freak I wasn't completely prepared for. If anyone else is tempted to do this, you must know you are going to have some 'feelings'. Feelings about inanimate objects is something I thought I was beyond. Well. There ya go. In separating items into sell, donate, and keep as most de-cluttering TV shows tell you to do, you've got to be ruthless. I don't have a ruthless bone in my body! What is more important, in the technique I've learned is to keep only  the objects you love. Keep the objects that fit. Keep the objects that make you happy. Keep those things. There's a logic in that and it appealed to my sense of practicality...until I started. Then I became one of those people on the other shows with the 'problem' where everything is loved and a professional must be called in.

That lasted the first hour as I pulled every item of clothing from the dressers, from the closets, from the den, and anyplace else I'd marked my territory. When you see the amount of clothes you actually own laid out on your bed....No, covering your bed, completely! You realize something. You've got to get this done and soon or you'll have nowhere to sleep! So, I stepped up my game. Had to. I became the Terminator after that. I was back. You! Black t-shirt! Come with me if you want to live! You, too, other black t-shirt, and you 5th black t-shirt! There's a place for you all with the half-dozen white t-shirts. Can't you all just get along? Why do I have so many flippin' t-shirts?

There were items from Forever21 on up to Liz Claiborne hiding in one closet that I'd forgotten about. There were items with PRICE TAGS on them!  Clothes worn once or never worn. Bottom line is that it became easier and easier as time went on to make the pile grow with only what I really wanted and to make the piles grow larger with items to sell and donate. Tis the Season. Lent is the time to give alms, charitable works, so perfect timing. I didn't even plan that!

One of many stacks I created. Ugh!

No, I didn't finish. But I have a bed to sleep on. It's surrounded by clothes on hangers, but it's reachable. I still have the shoes, boots, purses, belts, and scarves to sort. It was a beautiful (is that too much?) feeling to see my drawers with neatly folded items, sorted, and ready to use. Ok. Maybe that was a bit much. I have got to get a life!

Mostly, I'm beginning to see that people, including myself, have learned to live with way too much and still believe we don't have enough. This is why we need to look around the rest of the World and see what others are forced to live with, or rather, without. There are those in our own backyards that don't have a change of clothing. Coincidentally, I met a kid outside of a fast food place (not for myself, believe me!) who asked for money for food. Again, remember I said my mother tells me I talk to others too much? I bought him a meal and gave him $5. We sat and talked. James was in high school. He said he just wanted something to eat before he went home on the bus.

"Did you go to school today?"
"No, Ma'am." He dropped his head.
"Why not?"
"Because I wore this to school yesterday."

It turned out although what he wore was clean and he was properly groomed, thanks to his grandmother, he was teased by others in his school for not having lots of clothes! He was also bullied for being overweight. I contained my rage at how awful people can be to others. We chatted about his goals for the future. I assured him that the things that bother him now, he may not remember later. I told him those same kids won't be paying his bills or signing his paycheck in the future, and their 'opinions' didn't matter. As with any kid, he knows the present only. I tried another tactic.

"James. I want you do try something. Take this five dollars and put it away. Save it. From now on, whatever money you get, save it. Don't buy candy or fast food or it. Then, when you have what you need, you can buy yourself a new shirt or pants, even if it's from the thrift store. Then you start over again saving.. Can you do that?"

He looked at me as if that had never occurred to him before and agreed to do just that. That little seed planted in his head will keep him out of debt in the future, too. That's the upside.

Let's just say it was the kick in the backside I needed to begin my journey to Minimal-Land by donating a massive pile of usable clothes to St. Vincent DePaul. .

What progress did you make on the challenge from the last post? Anyone? Anyone? Ferris?

Reboot Challenge? Get the closet done. St. Vincent DePaul, Salvation Army, Goodwill, Churches, and more are all waiting and need your goodies for the needy!