Right Sizing, or What I've Learned About Getting Rid of Everything

I'm getting rid of everything. Well, actually, I'm getting rid of 2015 things. Get it? 2015 in 2015. Thanks Nourishing Minimalism, for the idea and the chart. Gosh, I really love charts.

So far, I have gotten rid of a little over 400 things. I'll often ask Jim to come audit a pile, just to keep me honest. It has been a combination of donations, consignment shops, and just outright trash. We've tried really hard to be mindful about how we donate. We've been taking business or interview clothes to the LGBTQ center in WeHo, books to our local library, and when we have something that might be immediately useful to someone, like an old rain coat or a pair of shoes, we've been placing them strategically on SMB.


This is super new-agey and not at all like me, but I try to hold each thing in my hands and ask myself if it brings me joy. The answer is almost always no. An object bringing you joy is a pretty high bar to clear.

The big changes are easiest to see. The limited toy selection has changed the way the kids play. Instead of the "dumping game" where the bins and toy chests are emptied with wild abandon and no one object is actually cherished, or frankly, even enjoyed, O and P are engaging in elaborate imaginative play with the limited selection of toys available to them, and when I ask them to help me clean up, they are more likely to assist, my best guess being that the mess isn't so overwhelming. 

The dishes don't seem to pile up the way that they had been. I think it is because once we cleared out the flatware drawer, we run out of forks much faster. 

The house feels bigger and more put together, not just because we've gotten rid of things, but also because we have focused on acquiring the right things. For every 100 things I de-own, I have acquired one new thing: a cool map for the huge blank wall over the sofa, a large pot for the maiden hair fern that reminds me of my grandma, and a ladder style bookcase that actually fits the space it occupies. 

We have a long way to go, but so far the results have been tremendous. I'm sure the last 400 items will be harder than the first 400, but I feel pretty confident that we will know when we are done. I don't know how to explain how much lighter I feel, how there is not only more room in my house, but also more room in my mind. 

Kid Made Modern Art

O: I'm going to paint you a story. 

I went to Target to buy dog food, Elmer's glue, and some paper, and came out with a new pair of sweat pants, two tank tops, and a cart full of new art supplies, like you do.   They were so shiny and looked so full of possibilities, I just couldn't turn them down.  

I did, also, get the dog food.

I did, also, get the dog food.

We rummaged through the junk drawer for bottle caps, wine corks, and other bits and bobs to use as makeshift stamps for the large ink pads.  We scribbled and scrawled with the diamond shaped crayons.  

O marveled at how many shades of green her new paint set contained, enough to paint every leaf in the whole world a different color.  It is so easy to forget the beauty of a heavy, textured, blank piece of paper, the possibilities that it can contain.  

All of the supplies, including that exquisite blank piece of paper, are from a company called Kid Made Modern. They are high quality and reasonably priced.  They withstood the afternoon and have been lovingly tucked away for our next creative binge. I especially appreciate how beautiful, streamlined, and functional the packaging and supplies are.  The bold colors and simple forms lend themselves to freeform creativity. There is no need for instruction or guidance.  The beauty of the tools is inspiration enough.

No one asked about Winnie the Pooh, the location of the iPad, or the possibility of an extra snack, all afternoon.  That alone feels like a victory.