Minimalist? Or just Less-imalist?

So we’ve got a space problem.

We made it pretty far — my husband and I have lived together almost 5 years, and it’s just now that we are feeling the need to start purging our belongings in favor of being able to put everything we own away. I’ve already started with my closet and dressers and immediately learned that this is an ongoing thing. If I want something new, something old is gonna have to go. Sadly, I ended up returning home from the weekend’s frock swap with four new pieces of clothing and one that I couldn’t bear donating after all. Now my closet is absolutely at capacity…and I have another Stitch Fix coming in a few weeks.

I have a plan right now to get a couple more under-bed storage bins. One for sentimental items like my second wedding dress and my dad’s vintage vest, and the other for seasonal items only. But, like, what the heck do I do with my first wedding dress? Never gonna wear it again. Feels bad to get rid of it. Also it cost two thousand dollars. What to do?

But clothes are one thing, and I’ll figure that out. It’s the other stuff that really needs a good purge. I made a quick list of the kinds of things we need to thin out:

  • Books
  • DVDs
  • Clothes and shoes
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Games
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Servingware
  • Everything in our storage unit…
  • …especially the Christmas ornaments
  • Everything in the office closet and filing cabinet
  • All my gaming stuff (it’s awesome to have a complete collection of 1st Edition AD&D books. That I never, ever look at)

That’s the quick list. Sigh. We can start at any time but we won’t really be able to dig in until after our vacation in late August. Which is good, as some of this stuff is going to require some emotional work I want to be prepared for. For example, I have this ancient, internet-less, Windows XP desktop computer that a friend of mine got working for me a couple of summers ago when DH was about to start starring in the fall show at our theatre company. I just wanted it virus-less and working so I could play all of my old PC games on it. Ones that you can’t load on to today’s operating systems: Morrowind, Oblivion, Magic the Gathering, Sim City, Heroes of Might & Magic III, Diablo II, Fate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, Planescape…I could go on. Seriously, I could. But I won’t because the reality is that the PC has been taking up space and outlets in the sun room for at least a  year since I last felt the urge to revisit any of those games. Just tucked away at the back of the jigsaw puzzle table. I have had a couple of moments where I thought, I’ll finish this puzzle and then head back to re-visit the land of the red volcano…but then I didn’t, and I found something else to do.

I am filled with a sense of anxiety when I consider ditching the PC and these games. Where does that come from? All those games are from when I was lonely and married and looking to escape, or when I was lonely and divorced and hiding from all of my feelings. Those games kept me going a lot of that time, but they no longer have a place in the context of my life as it is right now. I don’t feel fear of my world turning upside down again — though obviously so much of that is out of my control. Those games represent a time when my life was upside and it happened because I ran from all of my problems until they exploded. I feel as though giving those games away, alongside the means to play them, says that it’s time to trust in my recovery and believe that I no longer need those familiar comforts of escape. That’s it’s okay to have less stuff to distract me.

I asked myself what’s the worst that could happen? I will feel an urge to play one of those games and I won’t have the means. I could feel frustrated, or sad, or most likely, sentimental and nostalgic for awhile. Maybe instead I’ll read a new book. Or call a friend. Or ask myself what’s going on that I feel that need for comfort? I don’t know what will happen, but I do feel that it’s probably time to find out.

3 thoughts on “Minimalist? Or just Less-imalist?

  1. Chelsea

    Two things to say, with love:

    1. Your first wedding dress cost you $2000 . . . and saving it makes none of that money back for you. So either sell it or donate it – people really do buy/use donated wedding dresses, especially if they’re in good condition.
    2. Getting rid of stuff feels awesome, and is almost infectious. Think about it, cry over it, have a moment of silence and give thanks for everything the stuff did for you while it was with you . . . and then let it go.

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  2. Joe Hernick (@hernick_)

    Some techie help to Less-imalist-ize:
    1. Rip all your DVDs to movie files & save them on your main computer + a backup drive. Say goodbye to the DVDs.
    2. Read a bit on virtualization (try VirtualBox) if you want to keep your old PC games but ditch the PC> you can spool up a VM on your “newish” computer (mac or PC) and host the ghost of your old XP PC on it. Lets you keep your XP + games Forever. That capital F should minimize your game-separation anxiety. Then say goodbye to the old PC box. (You could also get lots of plot ideas for future projects from both of these projects)
    Cheers,
    Joe

    Liked by 1 person

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