When Family Chimes In

Today might be the last day I write at this desk. A woman is coming to pick it up tomorrow. I am selling it on Craigslist for $60.

I spent Easter with my family this weekend down at my aunt and uncle’s farm in Southern Minnesota. It was briefly mentioned that I was scaling down my belongings, and I mentioned the word, “minimalism,” only briefly.

The immediate response that jumped to mind was, “You’re not going to live in a tiny house, are you?”

I immediately wanted to become defensive and retaliate with some retort about how living smaller is living any less than someone with a 5-bedroom house. However, I did not do this. I will likely never live in a tiny house. I realize as I sit here writing this that they base the success of their life on the fancy car they drive, the size of their house, and how many “toys” they own.

But what does resonate with my family, is the idea of sorting through junk and trying to figure out what to do with it. My aunt recently cleaned out her deceased sister’s home to put the house on the market. Her sister was a “collector,” meaning she had wall-to-wall possessions; rooms filled with junk. It took her years go through it all.

Now, my aunt’s other sister is moving south to a warmer client. This sister is a collector as well, although somewhat less so. She has tried giving all her possessions way within the family. Do not do this. If you decide to get rid of your things, do not make it your family’s responsibility to take it from you. The old saying may go, “One person’s trash, is another person’s treasure,” but not always. It’s not their burden. You bought it.

And if you do decide to get rid of something, don’t replace it with a new copy. You are getting rid of it for a reason. If you think you will miss it, hold onto it for a little while to see if you really need it. If you end up never using it, it likely won’t be missed much once it’s gone.

I live in a 1-bedroom apartment. I have the normal amount of furniture: table and chairs, couch, sofa chair, desk, bed, chest of drawers, coffee table, and a couple of end tables. But it’s not the furniture that that makes me dread cleaning my apartment–it’s the amount of stuff I have crammed into the small spaces: Drawers, cabinets, under the bed, closet, etc.

We never understand what all that junk really is until we┬ádecide to move. It becomes dead weight. But it’s dead weight that’s hard to part with, and that’s why so many Americans end up dying among the possessions they’ve had for half a century.

I really don’t wish to be this person.


4 bags of donation clothes
5+ bags of secondhand kitchenwares


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