This weekend I started clearing out the apartment of things that we don’t need. I started with an easy one, the bathroom. When we moved to Brooklyn last October I felt like I got rid of so much bathroom junk, and yet, like a gas, expanded to fill the available space. Just getting rid of expired over the counter medicine took up half a garbage bag (and really, do we need three types of cold medicine? no). It was a nice place to start because it gave me an immediate sense of accomplishment. I’m not done in the bathroom, but I am already pleased to see empty space in there.
More interesting was my jewelry. I don’t have a huge amount of jewerly, but I do have some, mainly gifts from family and friends. I regularly wear about 7 pieces (necklaces and earrings) and I own probably 30 pieces. So I went through my jewelry box sorting and putting things into little baggies to sell on craigslist or give away. Most of it was the usual suspects, things I didn’t think twice about giving up, but something caught my eye. It was a necklace that my husband Will gave me to me when we were dating. I loved it and used to wear it every day. At some point it went into the jewelry box, got forgotten, and grew tarnished. It lay there looking sad and I felt a wave of guilt over how I had treated this formerly treaasured object.
It made the reasons behind minimalism (or enoughism, as I’m thinking of it) starkly clear. If I had so much stuff that I couldn’t show care and pride in this necklace, then what bigger things was I leaving at the bottom of the box? My quality time with my husband? My creativity? My love of books? All of the stuff in my life has been covering up the few things that I really care about.
I wonder how long it would have been before I found that necklace if I weren’t on this path. I wonder how many other things would have gotten lost and neglected. I’m glad that I don’t have to find out. I’m keeping the necklace and getting rid of most of the rest. It’s simple, elegant, and it means something – just like I want my life to be.