Sunday, September 9, 2012


Knowing that later in the evening I’d fear for the week ahead, I decided to give myself a positive and energizing boost by decluttering.  When tackling your minimalist goals, it’s important to divide and conquer items.  I began with books, college notes, textbooks folders and paper memorabilia that were stored in my bookshelf.

Parting with this first round of books was easier than I thought. Most books, I read. Others were required from college classes and the rest I had acquired somehow and never even opened.  All these books went in a big bag and into a donation pile at New York Library (there may have been a George Michael Dual CD set in there as a bonus).   The text books?  They went into the recycling bin.

The next items were a little more difficult to let go of.  Awards and certificates I had earned in grammar school for excellence in art, reading, attendance, science, and diligence were stored in a wildlife folder at the bottom of my bookshelf.  I only reached down and opened this folder once a year to recall the sweet little childhood moments, which sometimes left me feeling uneasy because the awards later turned into high school suspension letters. 

A little background:  My parents divorced when I was 9 and my mom, soon after, got remarried to a nice fellow that became the dad I always wanted.  He spent time with me and really listened.  It broke my heart when my mother divorced again, especially because we had nowhere to go from there.  We became nomads. We were homeless. 

Family and friends of the family loaned us their sleeper couches or air mattresses for a few years while my mom worked temporary factory jobs. In the meantime, my sister and I started high school and were blossoming into little ladies.  This was a tough transition for me because my parents had prevented me from going to private school (all I knew) or dance school (all I dreamed of) and forced me into a public school with my sister.  My parents never showed that they cared about the awards I won in grammar school, nor did they listen to me and accept the high schools I pursued.  I thought dreams weren’t important.  I felt alone and didn’t understand my purpose in the world. 

Almost all throughout high school, I hung out with the bad kids, cut class, got into fights, and disrespected my teachers and parents.  Suspension letters were in the mailbox where we stayed on a regular basis. 

The grammar school awards and high school suspension reports brought back sad memories no matter how I attempted to angle them, so they all went into the recycling bin.  Those sweet and sour times are in my memories and I don’t need papers to help me remember.

To put a little fun back into decluttering, I walked over to my closet and pulled dresses I had worn for New Year’s Eve parties, weddings, and dates out of the closet and into my arms.  I remembered dancing in them.  These were all donated to a thrift store in the East Village, NYC.

Although these items sat in my room for many years, getting rid of them helped me understand that they weighed heavy on my emotions.  There seems to be more room to breathe.


  1. I found your blog today, and thought that I would just let you know that you doing great on your road to minimalism. You are finding ways to declutter the physical items as well as the mental ones. I have found that living in the present and not letting my past rule my life a more peaceful way to go. On getting rid of certifcates, I had kept my high school diploma for 30 years and in that time no one has ever asked to see it, so I took great pleasure in shredding it. Keep up the writing, I look forward to following along with your blog.

    1. Hi Nikki,
      Thanks for your encouragment; it means a lot to me. I'm only getting started, but it's amazing how quickly you start to feel results just from letting go a few stacks of items. When we remove the unnecessary, there's space to improve and test the stuff that counts! I will have updates on my progress again this Sunday.

  2. I'm a bit like Nikki - I've just found your blog and look forward to following it. I too have been trying to lighten the load during the past 12 months and have found it is getting easier and easier. I still have a way to go though! Take photos of your certificates. Easier to keep and they still bring back the memories...just a thought. Good luck with your decluttering mission.

    1. Thanks for reading my blog. This is only the beginning of my journey to minimalism and I will share as much as possible with you. Congratulations on your past 12 months of progress; I admire you, so keep up the good work! In regards to taking pictures and scans, it is a great idea and I will try to use this for my next few rounds of decluttering papers, pictures and the like. Thanks again and keep in touch.