30 in 30

Last year when my daughter moved out to begin living her young adult life on her own, it ignited an interest in decluttering for me. Our stuff was no longer mingled together because she took some of her things with her and what’s left is either mine, or not needed at the moment.

One of my jobs is working with a company called Zen Habits, so Minimalism is a way of life for most of the people I work with. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to that level of simplistic living, but I’m making a valiant effort for Barb. The actual Minimalists are friends with the owner of Zen Habits, Leo Babauta and you’ve probably heard their names, Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus. In their book, ‘Love People Use Things’, they unravel a fascinating tale toward their minimalism, but it’s not how I perceived it to be.

Minimalism is not about having less. It’s about making room for more of what matters.

The Minimalists

It all began when I started questioning my belongings by looking at each item and asking, “Does this thing add value to my life?” At one time it did and it may not mean much to me anymore, but I bet someone else would be thrilled to have it. This is where 30 in 30 comes into play by asking another question from The Minimalists, “What if you removed one material possession from your life each day for a month-just one-what would happen?” I walked next-door to borrow a giant box from Hercules and plopped it in the middle of the house.

This morning I was eyeing my wooden credenza where some of my favorite things are displayed, looking at each item and asking that question about value. I surprised myself by removing something I’ve had for years, but rarely use. This will bring joy to someone else, so into the box it went which already contains a few things because I began this practice days ago. This feels different than cleaning out cabinets, closets, or decluttering. These are items I live with everyday, and dust when required, but do they still add value to my life today?

As soon as I removed that one thing, I saw an empty space and was able to give the other items more space. I’m really starting to thrive in empty spaces.

With time this credenza could hold even less than what’s pictured here. The candle will burn out and be removed and the plant has numerous places to dwell in my home. What adds value to my life in this photo is my favorite lamp and some artwork is stored in the envelope propped behind the lamp waiting to be framed, but the most meaningful item is in the picture frame. It’s a notecard of a whimsical Emu I received from my friend Dawn at Aging With Grace.

I hope this inspires you to take a look around at everything you live with and as far as I know, 30 in 30 doesn’t include people, but I suppose it could.

16 thoughts on “30 in 30

  1. I can relate to this as we have recently down sized and sold/given away two thirds of our furniture. My wife had saved various Christmas/Valentine/Birthday cards for 50 years which we had never looked at. They went. She had 22 purses, they went. We looked at every single item accumulated over 50 years of marriage and we’re relentless in their disposal……and we feel happier for it.l

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cool blog….I guess I could start with my sock drawer. Don’t ask how many pairs and unmatched pairs of socks I have, my answer would cause you to permanently block me from your site… By the way, um, is minimalism going to have any affect on your gorgeous spring wreath being put on display??????

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Gary. Why do you keep unmatched socks? Just curious. Hahaha No, the wreath stays because it brings me joy, or that is the hope anyway. I read the fine print on the box and it was made to hang indoors, or outdoors in a covered area, out of direct sunlight. My front door receives direct sunlight in the summer, but I’m probably going to try it anyway!

        Liked by 1 person

      • When it comes to “Prodigal Socks” I am an eternal optimist that they may see the errors of their youthful ways and return to the “fold.” Also, I have been known to go with “close enough” when it comes to kind of, almost, sort of, similar socks…..

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy this resonated and thank you for sharing your journey. For clarity, were the cards given to her, or did she simply have a collection of unused cards?

      Wow…a 50 year accumulation sounds overwhelming in my mind, but I think you’d have to be relentless and it must feel freeing to be in the space you are now. Bravo! Plus, you stayed married through it. 🥳


  2. What started such a process with me was when the owners of my house said they were selling, and I had to consider a possible move. A different motivation, but the same effect. Do I love this? Does it have value? Make me happy? Is it needed? I did some weeding, but could do a lot more. However, I like your/the minimalist motivation better. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I thought about moving because that would give me some sort of deadline. It is a different motivation, but it’s a helpful one because you have an endgame. I started out in layers and skimmed the top layer first, and then dug a little deeper and into those cabinets and boxes filled with the unknown, so you could try that. Thank you Jeanne. 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Barb,
    Love this!! I have always been a fan of having only what I need. It just feels lighter.
    Sometimes I do feel bad for not saving some stuff. But then I tell myself: what is the point of keeping it if I never look at it?
    Bravo and blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Ana! There may be a slight difference in ‘what you need’, versus ‘what brings you joy’. I get it…it feels like we’re holding onto something useless, but I imagine someone else would love it! Thank you and blessings to you too!


  4. On first go round I didn’t have time to read the piece by, The Minimalists. I read it this morning and wanted to tell you how much I like it. Some good advice on being a practical minimalist. I’m going to read more of their writing. Thank you, my dear friend, for bringing something important to my
    attention, once again.🤍

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are brilliant, but very laid back. I’ve enjoyed their book very much and happy you like what they offer. They have a documentary on Netflix entitled, “The Minimalists-Less is Now”, if you want to see and hear them. It’s my pleasure , Dawn and thank you! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

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