How a Faulty Sprinkler Taught Me To Live With Less
by Ari Takata-Vasquez
As you know, I'm a huge fan of the 333 project and creating a capsule wardrobe. Over the years, I've been trying to extend minimalism beyond just my wardrobe and into my home. I thought I had worked on eliminating the excess, but when a faulty sprinkler blew in our apartment building forcing me to move into a different unit quickly I realized just how much stuff I really have.
We've been in our live-work unit for a few years and kept bringing things into our space without purging the things we no longer needed. The unit also had a ton of storage so I was able to stow away my stuff and with it out of sight, it was out of mind. Once all my things were boxed up and moved into (my smaller but still reasonably sized) temporary apartment, they consumed almost all the living space. As I unpacked I came across old art supplies that had gone bad years ago, books I probably will never read, and old magazines that should have been recycled seasons ago. Why did I keep all of this stuff?
Part of the reason I've kept all this stuff is the same reason we all keep the clothes that don't fit. It's the "what-if". I have an emotional attachment to this stuff because it represents possibilities of a "better" me. In reality, I could make do with half the stuff that I have and still have more than enough. I collected art supplies so I could make art because it's easier to buy supplies than get creative. The books I bought were so I could read more regularly rather than find a title I'm really into and buy it as an e-book. After all, it's much easier to just go buy supplies or books than actually do the work to create a new habit. Now that I'm realizing my emotional attachment to "stuff" I can begin to remove that and simplify my living situation.
We're going to be in our temporary apartment for about a month while our live-work unit gets new drywall and electrical. During that time I'm going to donate a bunch of the excess and make sure I'm extending my capsule wardrobe to a capsule home.
Stay tuned for a minimizing journey.