|Unread books and new planner.|
Most people have natural chances to minimize: they go to college and have to pick only the possessions they use most often, or they move and only have so much room to pack. I've pruned a ton in the last few years, but I have never moved so I've never really been forced to evaluate and prune everything.
I have read about people whose choose to only have as many possessions that will fit in a tiny suitcase or others that keep their number of possessions under 100. Some even fight to get their number as small as possible. I find it admirable a beneficial to make do with less but I am not going to whittle my possessions down to an arbitrary number. As long as I am actually making use of an item, not just keeping it around, I see no reason to part with it.
I am using criteria that I haven't really used before. I ask the simple question of "Do I use it?" Before, I was content with answering "Is it useful?" But have come to understand that just because it is useful doesn't mean that I make use of it.
This exercise has been very beneficial. There were things I hadn't touched or used in forever. It was easy to get rid of these things. But there was this group of things that I kept because I wanted to use them but never did. This was the group of items that hurt the most. I would look at this stuff all of the time and think of all of the reasons that I didn't use them: "Not enough time," "Don't know what to do with it," "It's not perfect for what I was thinking."
I have a large stockpile of books I want to read and art and craft supplies. I knew the "to read" books were a problem so put all of the "to read" books on their own shelf and put a sticky note on them with the date they were placed there with the intention of giving them away if I didn't get to them in a year. I've read plenty of books since, but I've revisited the shelf and I couldn't believe that most of the books had been on there for 2 years.
So I've reevaluated the books for if I still want to read them, re-tagged them, if so, and added an extra 30 minutes of reading a day specifically for these books. I've also decided to date any other items that I am not sure I use enough, and in a year, I will see how many times I actually use those items.
But what I am most excited about is the art stuff. I've decided that I'm not going to buy any new supplies until I go through my stockpile and evaluate whether something i already own could work, even if it's not the perfect thing. I have found for me, the less I have, the more creative I have to be. Having too many art choices stop me from getting anything done as I wait around for the perfect thing or can't choose between so many options.
Recently, I had wanted to get a new planner and a smaller sketchbook for on location watercolor. I found a tiny notebook I hadn't used and an old watercolor pad that only had a few pages left on it and made some impromptu, crude solutions. They aren't perfect but they were fun to make and I'm actually using stuff I already own and creating more. I'm so excited. :)