Goodbye Things – Some thoughts about minimalism

goodbye things tortoise collection

Do you know how much stuff you own? When we started moving at the beginning of the year I was not sure how much stuff we had. When we had the first movers come by to estimate prices they said its about 80-100 boxes. I thought that was a lot. I order 50 and soon had to re-oder. And while at the beginning of packing I truly tried to say goodbye things I soon at to realize that I am far from living a minimal lifestyle. Ever since I have had some thoughts about minimalism. And majorly inexperienced on how to achieve it.

Because let’s face it. I do have way too much stuff. Just in my craft lab I packed 39 boxes. So my goal was to once we had moved I would go through everything and minimize and say goodbye to things.

Every once in a while I start to get down to business. I always have some stuff for sale at ebay Kleinanzeigen (which is like craigslist). It is a start but it is a slow process. Of course I’ve read Marie Kondos book. I have watched her Netflix show. I looked at other similar shows. But unless you actually start doing it no things will leave the apartment.

The other day I downloaded an audiobook – Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki – rather spontaneously because it was available. But that one did another little kickstart. I was thrilled to get started after I listened to at the checklist of 55 things to start minimizing. I noted it down to remember. The book itself has a few more thoughts to each point. So I can only recommend to pick it up!

Goodby, things – checklist to start minimizing

  1. Discard the preconception that you can’t discard your things.
  2. Discard something takes skill.
  3. When you discard something you gain more than you loose.
  4. Ask yourself why you can’t part with your things.
  5. Minimizing is difficult but not impossible.
  6. There are limits to your capacity, your energy, your time.
  7. Discard something right now.
  8. There isn’t a single item you regret throwing away.
  9. Start with things that are clearly junk.
  10. Minimize everything you have in multiples.
  11. Get rid of it if you haven’t used in a year.
  12. Discard it if you have it for a state of appearance.
  13. Differentiate between things you want and things you need.
  14. Take photos of the items you are about to part with.
  15. It’s easier to revisit your memories once you go digital.
  16. Our things are like roommate except we pay rent
  17. Organizing is not minimizing.
  18. Tackle the nest (storage) before the pest (clutter).
  19. Leave your unused space empty.
  20. Let go of the idea of some day.
  21. Say good bye to who you used to be.
  22. Discard of all the things you have already forgotten about.
  23. Don’t get creative when you try discard something.
  24. Let go of the idea to get your moneys worth.
  25. There is no need to stock up.
  26. Feeling the spark of joy will keep you focused.
  27. Auction services are a quick way to part with your possessions.
  28. Use auction to take one last look at your things.
  29. Use a pick up service to get rid of your things.
  30. Don’t get hung up on the prices that you initially paid.
  31. Think of stores at your personal warehouses.
  32. The city is our personal floor plan.
  33. Discard any possession you can’t discuss with passion.
  34. If you lost it, would you buy it again?
  35. If you can’t remember how many presents you’ve given don’t worry about gifts you’ve gotten.
  36. Try to imagine what the person that passed would have wanted.
  37. Discarding memorabilia is not the same as discarding memories.
  38. Our biggest items trigger chain reactions.
  39. Our homes aren’t museum. We don’t need collections.
  40. Be social. Be a borrower
  41. Rent what can be rented.
  42. Social media can boost your minimizing motivation.
  43. What if you started from scratch.
  44. Say see you later before you say goodbye.
  45. Discard anything that creates visual noise.
  46. One in. One out.
  47. Avoid the concord fallacy.
  48. Be quick to admit mistakes. They help you grow.
  49. Think as buying as renting.
  50. Don’t buy because it’s cheap. Don’t take it because it’s free.
  51. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.
  52. The things we really need will always find a way back to us.
  53. Keep the gratitude.
  54. Discarding things can be wasteful. But guilt that keeps you from minimizing are the true waste.
  55. The things we say goodbye to are the things we never forget.

Some of these things truly hit home.

My main struggle is probably #23. I always see the possibility of thing I could be making. I have so very many craft supplies of things I wanted to do, started to do and had an idea and saved. So many unfinished projects. So much so that I actually tried to make it a 100 Day Project one year.

Another one I have a hard time with is #30. I tend to value things much higher than other people which makes selling or donating so much more difficult.

And other things on the list I can’t really agree with. #8 for instance. I have thrown things out only to need them a few weeks later. And not being able to replace… And #22. I am pretty sure I know about all the the things I own. Mostly. I may not always find them in 3 seconds but I do know they should be somewhere. If I have forgotten its more like that I had discarded them and then search for them.

And then there are the things I try to already live by already. Such as #35 and #37. If I dont like a present I try to appreciate for a bit before lovingly giving it away. I have also been able to get rid of some of my memorabilia. And surprised the husband because he could not understand why I easily discard such things but keep craft supplies I could simply buy again. I don’t know. I guess I find it wasteful. And memories do stay with me. A year ago, I cleaned out some old boxes my parents still had. There were over 100 letters from me and my then boyfriend. I read each one and then fed it to the fire. It was ceremonial, felt good and then I was done.

goodby things_loveletters

I also knew there were a few items I loved dearly at some time but I would not want to store any longer. Taking a photo of each item – as suggested in the above list – to keep the memory alive. Also my tortoise collection in the header. Dearly loved but time to move one.

One of my many ideas was actually to make a sort of scrapbook. Each item gets one page.
I had a name for the project too “cataloguing memories” and documenting things such as

  • The story behind:
  • Where is it from?
  • Who gave it to me?
  • How long did it accompany me?

For now I have not started such a notebook. Maybe I one day will. Or maybe it’s another one of those crafty ideas that will only live in my mind.

As you can see, the list makes me think. It makes me more mindful. And when I now take something in my hand I ponder if I really need it. If I could part with it. So going into the next year my plan definitely is to say goodbye to more things. I have already started but I have a long way to go.

And I will never me a true minimalist I am afraid. But then, maybe that is a journey and I am only making the first steps.

Now let me know. If you would have to pack up your house or apartment – how many boxes would you fill?

Happy decluttering


20 thoughts on “Goodbye Things – Some thoughts about minimalism

  1. When we moved six years ago, we had twenty-five boxes of just books. I hesitate to think about how many boxes it would take to move us now, but I think it would be 200 or so? Probably. I’m imagining kitchen stuff, all the clothes in closets, and it would really add up! I do have a goal to go through all the Rubbermaid totes under the beds in the guest room and primary bedroom and do some serious decluttering, but I’m not sure we’ll see a real difference because of that!

  2. What a timely post, Tobia. Decluttering has been on my mind a lot lately. I don’t recall how many boxes we had when we moved last time, but I constantly see the “clutter” (which is partly due to the fact that we just don’t have a lot of space and dedicated storage, so everything is “just out” all the time.

    I’ve become pretty good about not randomly buying stuff that I have to find a place for. Another good rule is “one thing in, one thing out” ( that also applies to random things like makeup items and such. I try to not overbuy, but replace when something is used up). It’s still a struggle sometimes.
    I did some decluttering over the weekend and I started a bag of things that I came across and that I want to take to Goodwill. I also love the idea of taking pictures of items that hold some memory, but that you don’t really want to hang on to anymore.

    1. This is such a life long struggle. When it comes to cosmetics. I try to not bye and use everything I. have for now. But then I do have some week moments. Right now though I am doing really good at using up all those soap bars that I was gifted and not by shower gel. I also need to upload a ton more things to eBay KLeinanzeigen. I have a feeling this year lots of people want to buy presents through there – if it be for sustainability or budget reasons.

  3. I know- you never realize how much stuff you have until you have to move it all. I guess we would probably need hundreds of boxes? ACK! I used to have a real issue with #50 on this list- Don’t buy because it’s cheap, don’t take because it’s free. If you offered me something for free, I would take it no matter what it was. I’ve gotten better at not buying cheap things, but I’m still bad at turning down something for free- I’m trying though!

  4. My husband and I have come to the conclusion that we are NEVER moving, but to our credit we did an attic purge recently. I’d already done a pretty thorough attic purge when I moved in 5 years ago but I also knew that I’d never touched anything that I moved in with since, so that made it easy shed quite a bit of stuff. The hubs did the same and it was very satisfying. Now I just have to keep the momentum going and do the rest of my stuff. My ultimate goal would be to only have clothes that fit me right now and to ditch all of the too-big and too-small stuff.

    I really like the idea of taking photos of things to keep the memory. My Google Photo albums give me so much satisfaction and take up zero physical space.

    1. Taking a picture of things I want to get rid of but keeping the memory has really helped me a lot to let some things go.
      How great that you’ve been going through a huge purge that was so satisfying. Do you have any issue with getting rid of things that are perfectly fine? That’s were I struggle

  5. We would probably fill way to many boxes if we moved now. Last time we moved we already sorted through a lot of things, had a garage sale, gave it away and threw out. We had a lot of toys still that the kids outgrew and that still would be the case a couple of years later. My husband hates stuff, whereas I like it so we usually end on a middle ground what is ok with me. I have a set bookshelf space and when that fills up something needs to go. I always wish for books for my birthday but I also have no problem passing them on when I m done with them.
    I have way to many craft things, too but whenever I throw something out I can be sure that I need it a week later. I could ask the art teacher at school if she can use anything and she certainly would be more than happy to take it.
    Meike Visel recently posted…Taking a walk on campus – the CampanileMy Profile

    1. Yes art supplies are heaven and hell. When I’m crafting I want to live in a craft store so I can pull out whatever I need just that moment. But then for so many time stretches I don’t find time to craft at all and then I’m just annoyed by all the stuff I own.

  6. I certainly don’t keep too much, but last year we moved from the house where we’d spent ten years, with the kids growing from primary to adult, so we had a bunch of books and toys that we had to move on. We did a massive cleanout then, even though I don’t buy a huge amount of stuff. We are about to move out of our rental into our new apartment, which requires more furniture department downsizing. Even though I’m ruthless with my culling, I just ported and partially packed my wardrobe this morning I moved a small pile of clothes I haven’t worn this year. We also moved on a bit of glassware. Sometimes you just need some time to decide that you really can get rid of them. I got rid of my trophies, I took photos like you did

    For reference, we had about 50 boxes for our family of five when we moved last year, which I think is pretty minimal. The downsizing is a pain but less painful than packing and unpacking all that stuff as well as paying someone to move it. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

    That’s a great list, though, and very helpful. Point 50 is one I’ve implemented, so I pretty much always say no to free stuff.
    Melissa recently posted…Five Substacks I ReadMy Profile

  7. Liebe Tobia, ich habe mich gerade in deinem Artikel echt wieder erkannt – Craft Supplies sind auch echt mein Schwachpunkt und der Gedanke dass man aus ALLEM noch was Cooles machen kann. Bei uns steht auch bald ein Umzug an und ich glaube wir brauchen weit über 100 Kartons 🙈. Bei ein paar Kategorien hat es bei mir jetzt aber auch Klick gemacht und ich kann mich zum Beispiel jetzt relativ leicht von Büchern und Kleidung trennen. Gerade versuche ich an jedem Wochenende einen Bereich durchzugehen, weil ich nächstes Jahr nicht alles mitschleppen möchte. Bin gespannt wieviele Umzugskartons es dann werden!
    Jutta recently posted…CookiesticksMy Profile

    1. Craft Supplies ist unser Untergang. Und kaum sortierst du was aus, brauchst du genau das Dings. Ist mir schon so oft passiert. Wie hast du den Klick bekommen? Kleider fallen mir tatsächlich auch immer noch schwer wobei ein Großteil da echt gar nicht passt. Bei Büchern hatte ich vor knapp 10 Jahren mal komplett alles aussortiert. Langsam baut sich da wieder was auf aber es bleibt überschaubar. Ich drück auf alle Fälle schon mal dDaumen für euren Umzug.

  8. I am a minimalist but it sometimes means I get rid of things I end up needing. But I do have a rule if it’s something I haven’t used in the past year, then I probably don’t need it and it’s okay to give it away. I spend so much time decluttering my home because I delight in organized, clean spaces.
    Stephany recently posted…Week in the Life: Tuesday, November 8, 2022My Profile

    1. You are definitely ahead of me here. I do like everything organized but I just can’t manage. I do won a gazillion boxes and storage containers but then I still am not happy and keep re-organizing. And I pile up things faster so its a battler.

  9. I am definitely a minimalist, but this has only been part of my identity in the last decade or so. Before then, I truly was clutter blind. Eventually, though, I was married with two kids in a small apartment and the stuff was just overwhelming me.
    I didn’t set out to be this way, but it’s what feels best for me at this stage in life. I like curating what I have so it’s only things that serve a real purpose or, to quote Marie Kondo, “spark joy.” The hardest part for me is not wanting to minimize everyone ELSE’S things…and with one child who likes to keep EVERYTHING, this can be a challenge!

    1. HaHA I bet that is a challenge. A family is always made of characters and fitting them into the family can get weird. Glad you found a way for yourself. You showed a picture of your wardrobe and I was amazed. I first thought it was a laundry day. I have much more things. Working on it though

  10. How timely… this weekend’s plan is to clean the stuff out of my closet, from under my bed, and hopefully from a few other places in my apartment, and take it to the thrift store to donate. Also on the list – for next weekend perhaps – is taking the books I do not want anymore to the half-priced bookstore, where I will get a tiny bit of $$ for them. I’m just DONE with all the stuff. Aiming for less but definitely not a true minimalist, if that makes sense? And yes, moving makes you realize just how much stuff you have.
    Anne recently posted…The order of thingsMy Profile

    1. I love that you have a plan on what to tackle. I am more like here and there. I bet setting time and a certain task helps getting more done. Best of luck for your endeavors.

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