the courage to purge

I have always fancied myself a minimalist, declaring it proudly and liberally any chance I get. After all, I have occupied less than 400 square feet for years and much of that without living room furniture. Half of my kitchen cabinets are unused and the closet is still manageable. I consume less than the average bear and I only own one set of…yadi, yadi, yada. Yes, I am capable of living light and blessed enough to still always have what I need and even a little more.

Now, there is a new level of minimal to master and a test to prove myself worthy of such proclamations and fortunes. It’s time to purge my belongings.

Logically, I am convinced why. Practically, I understand. Emotionally, I know I need to trend toward ambivalence. But however confident I may be, the task is still daunting. This is no ordinary purge like when moving, or inspired by the change in the season, or a particularly productive bout of insomnia. The scale demands its own attention.

purging books
icebreaker #4: 25 books or one shelf’s worth of space, whichever is greater.
let’s start with that and see what it looks like.

Mentally, I am working up to the how. I have already started with donation piles, sticky notes of what to gift to whom, a tier system for contents of drawers…all knowing full well these are just ice breakers more for my amusement than much substance. The warm up exercises to test the tactics have been fun, but this will ultimately need to be object, mathematical, exponential. Limited room for play.

To get this done, I have to picture the goal. I have to imagine purging everything by half, half again, another half, and again, and as many halves as it takes to get to 150 cubic feet, maybe even much less. That’s the factor of this game, volume the absolute constraint. All else is left to my judgment and remembering that the space is finite and must fit everything. Every thing. Every thing that I will need and, if cleverly arranged, a few of the things I want.

I can only claim mastery if I can do this without storage space for the remainder.



      The Bare Necessities - Louis Armstrong

One thought on “the courage to purge”