June 5, 2014

I Had an Emotional Breakdown.

So I moved this week. I was all like, la-de-da moving is wonderful and flowers and ponies and easy peasy. NO moving sucks, guys. It really, really sucks. It is hard, hot, and I have bruises. SO MANY BRUISES.

Let me step back a bit and say, besides the large pieces of furniture, bed, couch, coffee table, dining table and chairs, I moved everything myself, by hand, from my old apartment into my car, to the new apartment and carried it upstairs and unloaded. Maybe I am the world’s dumbest person for doing that, maybe I should have spent another 200 dollars and had someone pack it up, but I was determined to do a Zero Waste move using only the 9 boxes that I salvaged from the recycling center at work and all of my reusable bags.
Despite the sweat, the tears, the fact that my body hurts, and that I feel like I’m 97, I learned a valuable lesson, a lesson that took me sitting in a ball crying on the floor surrounded by all of my things to realize: I have way too much stuff.
Don’t get me wrong, I live in an apartment in Brooklyn (yay, Brooklyn!) so how much stuff can I really have? Well, it turns out that I have a lot more than I thought. It’s like, where did all of this sh*t come from??? Why do I have 40 mason jars, 7 extension cords, way too many pens, 80 books, a billion towels, and streamers, why do I have streamers!?
So here is what I did. I put away all of the “essentials”. Plates, cups I use most often, sheets, a few towels, and the kitchen equipment I use all the time and I left the rest on my counter and my floor and am going to spend the next two days asking myself “do I really need this right now?” If the answer is no, I am going to put it in a box that will be designated for Goodwill.
I thought I was a minimalist, but it turns out I’m probably tipping more towards the hoarder side and it’s terrifying. I find myself saying, okay, I might not need this party hat now, but one day, maybe, I will host a party and someone will want a hat. I need to stop doing that and stop being ridiculous and just say no to these things, because if and when the time comes I actually need a party hat I could either 1) make party hats out of newspaper or something or 2) forego hats altogether, will they really dictate the overall tone of the party? Come on, NO.
So I guess moving is good in the sense that I really evaluated my life and what I own and realized that I have too much stuff, but bad in the sense that I really had to take a hard look at myself and say, Lauren, you aren’t all that minimal girl, you have a LOT of crapola. So I take this experience as a point from where I will begin to purge and downsize. I can’t beat myself up about it too much because hey, we’re only human, and sometimes we collect, it happens, but I’m ready to live a life that isn’t weighted down by all of the things I own and live more with less.

22 comments:

  1. I'm proud of you. It's amazing that you did this move all alone. You go girl!

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    1. Thank you so much! My battle wound bruises ;) Yay for being Brooklyn Budz!

      xo

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  2. Thanks for this post! I've been trying to get rid of so much stuff for the last months, giving everything I can, selling clothes, .. I really want to own less and I've become obsessed with the idea of "less is more", but I feel like it's an endless process! I mean, i still have so much stuff in here!
    So your post is really reassuring, I feel less lonely with my never-ending cleaning :)
    Enjoy your new place! Xx

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    1. Thanks for reading! I love the idea of Less is More - it really is a great philosophy to live by, but yes, totally and endless process! I'm glad I moved to a smaller space, it really helped to shine a light on what I was "collecting" and how I have a long way to go before I get to a place of true minimalism, but it's a great first step!

      Thanks for the comment xxx
      Lauren

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  3. I totally know that feeling! Of feeling so proud of being a minimalist and realizing that you have been toting 25 pens from apartment to apartment, when really you only go through one pen a year and JUST GET OVER IT! And that is just a microcosm of my consumerism life!

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    1. I knowww - it sneaks up on you. I thought I could fit my life in 9 boxes. What a joke! More like 90. :*(

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  4. This is awesome. We recently moved too (from my childhood house so there was SO much stuff!!!) And we ended up getting used boxes from a nursing home that my friend works out. They were boxes from adult diapers which was funny as we were moving them but it was just incredible how much one can accumulate! Good luck to you and your new abode.

    Ps- staring Monday I'm going to being my own cutlery to work instead of wasting countless plastic ware. What a "duh" thing to do but your blog reminded me!

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    1. You are!? That is amazing! I actually just keep a foldable fork in my purse at all times and then I keep a regular sized fork, spoon, and knife at the office to just rinse in the sink with some castile soap after i've used it. It is so simple and conveninet (plus it gives me fewer dishes to have to do at home!)

      Haha I love that you moved using adult diaper boxes! Your neighbors must have been curious about you ;) Thank you for the well wishes about the new apartment, I am so in love with it! Enjoy your new home as well!

      Lauren

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  5. Wow-that's impressive you did that all on your own! Moving is such a pain. It seems like we always accumulate more than we think we do, and it takes something like moving, or a renovation to see how much stuff you really have.

    There are some things that I know I won't be able to get rid of (books, old records), but I need to go through my clothes desperately, and I think you just gave me some motivation. Good luck with your sorting!

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    1. Elizabeth,

      I totally agree about accumulating more stuff than you think. It is really all relative to the amount of storage that you have. My new apartment does not have nearly as much closet space as the old one and I am finding myself stacking things on things to fit it all! I am going to go through and downsize slowly so that I can really assess what I really want/need. But i'm in the same boat as you, can't get rid of books or records. Some books I am happy to part with and will probably donate back to the Environmental Science department at NYU where I studied and only keep the rare, really special books. Let me know if you have some good clothing downsizing tips and feel free to take some pics and share them!

      Lauren

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  6. Don't beat yourself up over it all. I have dusted off 13 moves in the last 10 years both on my own and with the help of friends and family. No move is ever easy. It is hard and emotional because it is a draining process. There have been a couple moments in those moves where i have been on the floor crying too.

    If you have space under your bed cut some of those boxes in half so they can slide in and out. I do that to store thing like shoes or spare sheets, towels and other related items.

    Good luck with the down sizing :)

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    1. Hi Erin,

      It's so nice to know that i'm not the only one! 13 moves in 10 years is a lot, very impressive! I bet you are an expert now! I love the idea of putting boxes under the bed for storage. I have a long bedskirt so they wouldn't be visible at all! I also think I need to get a dresser which will help me a lot with the storage problem.

      Thanks for your kind words and tips!
      Lauren

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  7. I thought about becoming zero waste at the beginning of this year. I'm soooo far from it. I've been going through certain areas of my apartment and grabbing things I don't need (example: 3 vegetable peelers), don't use, or thats plastic and sticking it in my closet. I'm in med school so I don't have much time to go through everything at the moment. My closet is a walk in closet. It's full. And I mean, I have enough space to step into it, reach for a tshirt and thats it. There is no walking in in this walk in closet. I'm pretty sure I have the same amount of things, if not more, as a family of 4. I don't know how and WHY I accumulated so many things. It's frustrating to see all the things I own. It's suffocating.

    And let's not even get started on all the clothes and the over 30 pairs of shoes I own. Sigh.

    Small steps. *deep breaths*

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    1. I totally know the feeling and had the same problem. We all have to start somewhere, right? I began by doing a sort of tracking system of what I wear. Things that I wore often I'd put to one side of the closet. Things I never really wear I'd put in a drawer, if I didn't wear them after a certain period of time i'd sell or donate them. I also went through and looked for anything that needed to be repaired. The best thing I did though was track what I wore since I really am such a creature of habit and tend to wear the same thing over and over. It really helped me begin to purge. I also like to remember that if you have a piece of clothing and you get rid of it and regret it, you can pretty much always find it again or something just like it. Very few things are irreplaceable :)

      Goodluck!!
      Lauren

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  8. I had this same experience when my bf and I moved across state lines. All our stuff had to fit in the car and it was a huge wake up call. Look forward to reading more of your blog!

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  9. A note about Goodwill: When it finally sank to me in that Goodwill is no longer a non-profit I weaned myself from donating anything to them or buying anything from them. We have true non-profit thrift stores in store who are run by volunteers. One in particular funds a home for financially disadvantaged seniors. I feel good about supporting them.

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  10. I just found your blog and I must say that I really enjoy every single post.
    I started getting a lot more aware of minimalism and no-trash-culture when I was backpacking and spent a while in Ubud, Bali last year.
    It started with making my own nut milks (I am vegan), buying a set of bamboo cutlery, donation everything I had spare in Australia and getting bamboo toothbrushes.
    I am getting more and more into it and I must say that I own very few things by now and I have never been this happy and content.

    I went back to Europe to my parents' a couple weeks ago, went into my room and almost got a heart attack. Someone should have just hidden them from me. I didn't miss anything apart from maybe five things and I had soooo many clothes waiting for me. I felt like you in this post. Being the minimalist, living from a 45l backpack but still having a huge room of random stuff and clothes somewhere :o

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  11. If I was there I would have helped you, I love this blog you are brave.

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