Friday, January 18, 2013

Minimalist Storage...Courage, Mateys!

Notice anything about the word, storage? We store things while we aren't using them. If you have things packed away that never come out, except at reorganizing time, you never use them. Does that mean you shouldn't have them? Not necessarily. We do have the love option as well, but how much of that stuff do you love if you never pull it out?

These are my favorite totes and my goal is to fit
everything we don't use regularly in them
When I tackled my storage, most of it was safely tucked inside totes in my basement. I know people dream of this, but I'll warn you, bliss it is not. There were still so many of them that even though they were labeled, I couldn't keep track of everything in them. I contemplated typing a list of items in each tote, so I could know where everything was at all times. I'm weird about this. I want to be aware of all my stuff and where it is all the time. I loved the feeling right after a reorganization, that I'd freshly seen all my stuff and could tell you where anything was. For about a moment. 

As I read, it occurred to me that the price for owning my "storage" was my energy and time every year or so. With minimalists reminding me my identity wasn't tied up in my belongings, I fell out of love with much of my stuff. I'd imagined myself more complete because my stuff was intact, but it wasn't giving, it was taking. We see our stuff as extensions of ourselves, or at the least, expressions of who we are. But we would be all of who we are without any of it. 

There is an empty room, and you. And you are enough. You are all that’s needed in this room, you fill it with your light and the miracle of your being, and you now realize: the things you used to express yourself, those were just a crutch. You need none of it. You are enough. – Leo Babauta

This was my outlook when I marched down to my basement and started in. Photos I took in photography class - recycling. Yoga mat I never use - sale. Decorations I thought I might use someday - sale. Stuffed animals from childhood I didn't attach to - put them in with toys to give the kids at some point (if they were nice). Magazines from when I was planning my wedding - recycling. Bedding for bed sizes we don't have - sale. 

Beware of thoughts like, "This could be useful someday," or, "This might be cool to have." These vague statements trap you. If I didn't have a definite plan for it, especially in my craft closet, it went. That doesn't mean I have a specific plan for each supply. I kept several ribbons because I use ribbon regularly. It's mostly about being thoughtful and honest with yourself. It's too easy to pass over lots of items by saying you could need them one day. When I'd apply myself, I'd think, "I could make this out of that," and put in on a to do list, or I'd finish the thought with, "but I never would." And because I'm sometimes okay with who I am, I let it go.

A lot of this is about permission. I rethought a spoon-holder made by my grandma. I'd been storing it, but that didn't seem right. If it's special and reminds me of her, I want to see it and using it would be icing on the cake. It now holds paintbrushes in our guest room, but if I decide I don't have a use for it someday, I'll let it go. I have several reminders of Grandma, so if life is better without that one, that's alright. Give yourself permission to get outside your "should's" and live life. You have wonderful options and freedom to choose them. 


  1. I really adore the idea of using "special" things for everyday use and re-purposing items to accommodate your life.

  2. Did you ever make your labels? Did that work? I am afraid to tackle this in my own basement because I can't decide on the type of totes to use. That being said, I really need to do something about my basement so I can have some art studio space and maybe even an additional workout space. Goals.

    1. I chose these totes early in my marriage as blue probably wouldn't be my choice now, but I love that they are uniform, not see-through (so messy looking), not color coded (red/green for christmas), and come in two sizes. The top row are deeper ones that are super nice for larger categories/items. It feels great to get it done! I haven't done anything with labels yet, but I'd still like to. :)