A Minimalist Approach to 2017

As the New Year so lovingly tends to do, 2017 stared me smack dab in eye and said, “Abigail, what are your goals? Are you going to make one of those half-finished bullet journals again? Filled with unfinished tasks, lists, recipes, workout trackers, book lists, daily water intake, bucket list…list….lists….lists?!?”

Am I painting an accurate picture for you?

My OCD nature likes things to be perfect, in one placelisted, lined up, synced, and, checked off. But, as I get older, I’ve found it is hard to do that when clutter, stuff, and noise is filling my head and spaces.

Ultimately the less I have, the more joy I find.

I have been a huge fan of The minimalists for a few years now. While sitting in a Philadelphia airport, I stumbled upon a blog post, (ironically) set in an airport asking the question, “Why is my phone about to die?” He bemoans the low-level anxieties mindless phone surfing can ensure, and came to this conclusion:

“… it’s not my phone’s fault, it’s mine: rarely does the blame belong to the material thing itself. The stuff is not the problem—we are.”- Joshua Fields Millburn 

Stuff. Oh that age old problem of too…much….stuff…

This led me to the first of three of the minimalists game. (For one month, get rid of the amount of items for the date you’re on. May 1 = 1 item, May 31 = 31 items.) My first month was difficult. I threw away things like “a pencil” and “a receipt” as my items for the day.

While this did not make much of a difference on my physical world, it established a mindset.

The next month I went a little crazy, gave away BIG things (i.e. furniture pieces, dishes, clothing, books.) The third, and final month, the well was running dry! I gathered the precious remaining, and held a garage sale.

jasonabigailesp-35

When Jason and I moved to Alaska, we were living in our 800 square foot duplex (which we LOVE) but none of my stuff had arrived yet. Jason had our bed, couch, TV, frying pan, and a plate/bowl/utensil/cup for each of us. We got a coffee maker right away from our registry (thank goodness!)

We lived a very minimal life for months.

I lamented the absence of my puppetry supplies, musical instruments, clothing, records, books, kitchen supplies, (notice the order.)

 But, ultimately, we will cherish that time in our empty apartment. Because it taught us to live with less, and to find more in each other.

When our furniture and STUFF arrived- I cannot tell you how many boxes I took straight to goodwill. I did not want to have it in the house. It was almost disrupting the peace. Obviously I want the basics in my house. I am also a theatre artist by profession, and a musician. The instruments stay, so do my basic tools for making art. But…

I will not hoard stuff “because it might be useful one day.”

I will buy, thrift, or find supplies for the show that I am creating in the moment. It makes my life less cluttered, crazy, and I like the feeling of knowing what I own-it is incredibly satisfying.

In conclusion- I will always be a “list girl”, I am just choosing to make my lists a little less cluttered this year.

Photo: Erica Serrano Photography

Posted by

Him and Her. Life and Narrative. Married, partnered, friends. Simple and sweet. The ups and downs together. Be kind, be caring, be loving. A theatre artist and a military officer. Living in Alaska, often long distance. We explore, we write, we share. We love to travel, eat, listen to music, try new things, be present each day, and live a minimal lifestyle.

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