[October 11th, 2015]
Well, friends, here we are. We made it to the holiday weekend and instead of escaping Manhattan like we thought we would, Aviv and I decided that it was time to take the final plunge and make this place livable...for someone else! Turns out we had a lot more things to sort through on our list than we anticipated, and the whole experience is begging me to shout it to the world again:
Less is more, people, less is more!
You've been following along on this adventure, right? I mean, I for one have lived this whole thing—and to be honest, I thought we were pretty damn prepared. Remember how we had gone through all the books and the shoes — the hardware chest, the linens, and old paperwork? Remember that picture of me on the floor in a sea of clothing we donated all away? Remember how we did all that in advance?
Even with all that prep, we still found ourselves taking yesterday to go through even more stuff.
STUFF - it's hiding everywhere! Underneath the bathroom cabinet; inside the pantry; the spice cabinet; stuff is in the refrigerator; it's hiding at the tippity top of the closet space!
When you're looking to minimize down to a single suitcase, you know what all this stuff looks like? It pains me to say it ... but it feels heavy. It feels like the wrong kind of heavy. It feels like junk.
I started thinking about how from the moment we are born we start collecting things—we become owners of things. Take baby Omri, for example, he's already the proud owner of his very own stroller, multiple blankets, a crib, and more baby clothes than you have care to count, amongst many other things. All this stuff we collect. Obviously, a baby doesn't have much choice—but when we get to that maturity level where we do have a choice, it's interesting that we never stop to consider: how does this really fit in my life? (both physically and metaphysically). SHOULD this really fit into my life?
By now I'm sure that most of us have heard about the Zero-Waste movement and the admirable Trash is for Tossers. Zero-Waste is slightly different than our venture to live a minimalistic lifestyle—but on the venn diagram of comparison between the two concepts, there is indeed a lot of overlap.
Yesterday, we threw a lot away. I have to admit it, because it's burning a hole in my heart. We threw a lot, a lot, a lot of stuff away—and yes, much of it is going to donation, and a good half of it into the recycling bin—but listen people, it is astounding how much trash we accumulate. The worst of all that trash has to be old electronics. What the heck do you do with something like that?!
Living in NYC especially, where we are all used to an immediate solution to every possible need, it's easy to lose patience and with our trash. We want it out of our spaces so bad that we simply toss it outside of our doorsteps and continue on our ways—blind to all the rest of the waste on the street, until it all magically disappears. Here's the thing though: it really doesn't disappear. It simply continues to accumulate elsewhere. Talk about out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong. I think we need to make an effort to collect less. If we collect less stuff, we'll have less trash. All of us—whether you're going minimalist, zero-waste, or whether you're just continuing to live your own way. We all desperately need to collect less.
My mind spiraled so far down the rabbit hole yesterday, that when Aviv and I walked into a store to buy supplies to wrap our artwork we looked around at all the aisles upon aisles of stuff, and all we saw was junk. We ran out of there faster than the idea came to us to walk inside in the first place. It was both frightening and hilarious at the same time.
So from there we came to an agreement:
Anything that we buy moving forward, whether it's as small as a button or as large as a home, we are going to ask ourselves if we have space for it—not only in our physical space, but also in our minds. Are we going to use it to its fullest? Can we not live without it? What will happen to it the day we no longer want it in our lives?
For us, clothing is going to be the major possession on this adventure. In order to maintain our one-suitcase quota goal (which we're close to), we've decided that with any new item we acquire, we must donate another in exchange!
It's clear that there is simply no other way. :)