I like to think that I live simply and minimally compared to the average American citizen. Today I decided to test that hypothesis and look around my home for exceptions to my belief. I was startled by the amount of things I have overlooked so I could justify my minimalist mentality.
1. Small mugs
I have a penchant for drinking copious amounts of tea on a daily basis, but I do not like to get up from my writing chair to refill a regular-sized mug. Many people think that since I drink tea, a mug is a good gift. I appreciate the sentiment, but I need a giant mug to satisfy my need to quench my thirst and decrease the number of interruptions to writing. As a result of thoughtful gift mugs I have a plethora of mugs I do not use.
I used to have my nieces and nephews stay the night often, and I acquired a bunk bed set and all the required bed dressings. I scoured the clearance section for bedding at Target and bought all the cutest blankets for boys and girls. Now that my nieces and nephews are older they don’t stay the night anymore, but I still have an excess of blankets and bedding I do not use.
For a time, I fancied that I would become a jewelry maker, so I bought all the necessary equipment like beads, wire cutters, pliers, and wire. I pulled out a section of wire from the box and began cutting it into sections I would need to make bracelets, ear rings, and rings. The big moment came when I started to bend the wire into a shape I wanted. After a few moments of tedious struggle, the piece of wire was a warped mess, and I was less than thrilled with the experience. I hid the paraphernalia in a box and put it in the garage.
My father is a man who can build almost anything, case in point as a family we built a kit car together. He never threw away a nail or a screw because, “You never know when you might need it to finish a project.” Over the years, I have purchased furniture that you put together yourself, and without fail, there are extra pieces left over. Instead of giving these pieces to Habitat for Humanity where they might be useful, I have let them pile up in bins and plastic bags on shelves in my garage in case I need them.
I love socks, and I have a pair of socks for every season, holiday, and activity. I have a drawer full and dedicated to only socks. Granted I have collected my socks over a number of years, but it is getting to the point where it is hard to open and close the drawer because I continue to collect new socks and receive new socks.
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6. Crochet hooks/Knitting needles
I have more than one set of crochet hooks because I kept losing them, or I started a new project and needed the same size hook. I never separated a hook from the current project, in case I forgot what size I was using. I bought a few knitting needles because I thought that I would have the same passion for knitting that I do for crocheting. I do not, but I hold on to the hope that I will someday and continue to hoard knitting needles which I do not use.
Tacks are very useful in an office, but there comes a point when you have too many. I have clear, colored, thumb, large, and small tacks. In the moment I bought them, I thought that they were cute and practical, which is true to an extent. Now I have a few boxes of tacks which are unused, but well intended.
As a writer, I love the feel of ink against paper. I have a drawer full of blank journals in my desk, just so I can feel my book in a bound form before it is published. I like to go to the office section of any store and moon over the selection of pens which I could use to write my next novella. I enjoy collecting pens from all kinds of sources like my bank or freebies on the Internet. They all come to rest in the skinny drawer in my desk, and when I open it, all I hear is the sound of pens rattling like a thousand maracas.
9. Shampoo and conditioner
How many bottles of shampoo and conditioners do you need for a shower stall? The average person would say one of each or the bare minimalist might say one bottle of combined shampoo and conditioner. I currently have three bottles of shampoo and two bottles of conditioner in my shower. (I will not even discuss the amount of body and face wash containers I have.) It is rather humbling because in addition to the stock in my shower, I have a shelf in my auxiliary room full of pairs of shampoo and conditioner.
10. Unfinished crochet projects
I adore crocheting, which means I can get distracted in the middle of one project to try a new scheme. I have Christmas popcorn tin fill of crochet flowers, circles, squares, octagons, and diamonds, which were at one time or another destined to be part of a blanket, scarf, or accessory. The bigger projects like shirts or nearly-finished afghans escape my notice because they have been tucked away in my yarn cabinet.
My pride has taken a blow while writing this confession of materialism. Instead of feeling bad and not taking action, I intend to take a look at my surroundings with new eyes. There are plenty of useful things in my home, which could find better use elsewhere. I challenge you to look in your home for things, which can serve a better purpose than taking up space and collecting dust. Let me know what your solution is in a comment.