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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Minimalist 30 Day Challenge.

So when I first started testing the waters of minimalism 3 or 4 years ago, it seemed like a strange concept. Items, to me, meant some form of success. The more I had of something, the better prepared I was for what life might throw at me.  Add to that belief the fact that I was and still am a "prepper" (I really, really hate that term) and the thought of getting rid of things I "might need later" was really scary. We also have a small farm and there are things that you need... rakes, shovels, water buckets and so on.  It was silly to get rid of something that might "break" and then I'd have to get a replacement in the middle of a project.

But I started anyway, because I hadn't felt happy in my surroundings in a very long time.  About 8 years ago my older sister had a stroke (at age 49, but that's another post).  We knew before she even left the hospital that she wouldn't be able to return to her home or live on her own again.  She was (and still is) a hoarder. About half of the items in her 3 bedroom house and 2 car garage got delivered to my 2 car garage and filled it wall to wall, top to bottom.  It took years to slowly sort through it, give what I could to her daughters, sell what I could and give her the money and throw away what needed tossed.  Because she had things like 20 black tank tops, calendars (from the same years) full of notes, stuff she had bought at thrift stores that she was planning on selling (yet never did) and just too much stuff to describe. It was frustrating because I'm pretty sure that there were family treasures that were kept by her in-laws, but again, another story.

That was a huge wake-up call for me, especially when I realized a few years ago that I had 4-5 black tank tops.  Nope, not happening. So I slowly started exploring the concept of minimalism.  I read books, blogs and talked to a friend who was looking into tiny homes and simple living.

I started boxing stuff up to sell, donating to our local thrift store and throwing away things that were trash. I started noticing when I went into a store or stopped at a yard sale that I no longer felt a "call" to buy something. Fast forward to Christmas, 2016.  My youngest daughter made a comment that she couldn't buy me a present because I'd only sell it in a few months.  My two other daughters agreed with her.  I was oddly pleased about that.  My husband is panicking a bit, I think.  I promised I wouldn't get rid of any of his stuff.

A group of local folks gathered together and started The Minimalist's Game

It's been very easy in some ways as I've lost a lot of attachments to things.  In other ways, because I've been doing it so long, it's hard to find things that are "obvious". So the other day, during a somewhat intense conversation re: being tied down, I thought about my chickens.  I'd already gotten rid of over half my flock in January.  I was down to 6 hens and a rooster.  Every night and every morning, someone has to go out and open the coop door to keep them safe. I used to feel very "competent" by having chickens.  Look how well I provided for my family.  The kids used to love collecting eggs and so did all the youngsters that visited the farm. Now it's just a chore except for the far-and-few occasions where a child is here and it's the right time of day.  So I made this decision to get rid of them, well, most of them. I kept Aslan (the youngest named her) who was hatched on the farm in May of 2011, I'm serious, we've had her forever) and her daughter, Connor Dane Eccleston (guess who named her-yep, my nephew) for a companion. Aslan still lays a green-tinted egg every 5-6 days.  Sadly, when she sits on the rooster at night, I can hear her wheezing. Once she "passes" her daughter will go to the home where the others went.  It's one less chore on the farm, my neighbor has lots of chickens so if we ever need to survive, I'm pretty sure we can work out a trade for eggs and I feel freer.  We've only had two hens and one  with names that stuck in all the years we've had chickens. The hens, as I said, were Aslan and Connor and the rooster was George Washington, who came to the farm from a 4-H member.  He was the patriarch of all the chicks ever hatched here.  So in a way, it's sad to see them go but realistically, I'm not gonna miss them.

Aslan is the little white check in the back.

Aslan and Connor Dane Eccleston all alone in the chicken run.

For me, minimalizing is about reducing my stress.  And I may just keep playing the minimalist game for a long while to come.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post. I too find it oddly comforting to have less rather than more. My son has a friend, young at age 11, whose mom died last year. She struggled with pain and painkiller addiction for a long time before that so housework was not getting done and it got so much worse after her death. Single dad and son now refuse to let go of anything and keep accumulating. While I told my son that it's important that this kid has one good friend that "knows" what his house is like and will go in and be his friend, my son has a new appreciation for the times I come 'round the house with the trash bag looking for throw/donate/sell items. Some find comfort in knowing if everything went to hell, at least they would have their "things" while I look at it as "if everything goes to hell, we can get out of here and begin a new chapter somewhere easily"! I too am a "prepper" and hate that term!