How I Minimize
I choose to use minimalism to connect with what is essential in my life. I do not count my stuff. I do not count how much I have, how much I get rid of, and I refuse to take part in what amounts to a reverse of “keeping up with the Jones's”. I simply seek to have no more than I need at any given moment.
Volume is the marker I have found the most helpful in my journey. I set a space limit for what I have, then go about both getting to that, and keeping it there. That volume marker has changed over time. At first all my clothes had to fit in a dresser, now its a carry-on bag. Minimalism is a function of my needs. Setting arbitrary number limits on items doesn’t really help me meet my needs since it is space that is the constraint, not the sum of what I have.
When culling the same rule applies. I do not count, instead I focus on volume whether it is a shoe box or a Uhaul truck. I commit to a volume that isn’t scary at the moment. If I exceed it, that is great! It is better to exceed your expectations than it is to have to reevaluate them.
The only number I do use is time. Twice a year I designate a culling week. I get a box, or five, and spend a week filling them. When the weekend comes I donate or toss everything in those boxes. Simple.
I have lived in a fully stuffed condo and a 90 square foot studio. I have experienced homelessness and I have couch surfed. This has ingrained in me a strong desire to not have clutter, to look for the deeper value in objects, and to rarely become attached to them.
I often use the example of family photos. Often, when someone finds out I have no paper photos they become upset or accusatory as if I had thrown my literal relative in the trash. I remind people when this happens that it is the image I am attached to, not the physical photo. I scan all my photos and save multiple copies so I am sure I will never lose them in a house fire.
I keep very little and I make sure what I do have is not in my way.