Life in a box

I read a blog post over at Becoming Minimalist that I keep thinking about.  The title of the post is, Three Lies That Kept Me From Simplifying My Life.  The author, Allison Vesterfelt, talks about the time a friend asked her, “What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to worry about money?”  After answering the question she comes to the conclusion that she’s believed three lies that have kept her from realizing her dreams.  It is a really interesting read, I suggest you pop over there and take a look for yourself.  The thing that really resonated with me, though, was a quote of hers, “You don’t realize how much stuff you have until you try to put it all in a box.”

That got me thinking.  What if I had to pack up all of my stuff.  Would I have boxes and boxes of stuff?  Would I use all of the stuff in each box or would I stack those boxes into the garage/closet/shelf just in case I might need all that stuff in the future?  Guilty.

Take my bathroom, for instance.  If I had to pack up my bathroom I’d prefer to have one box.  Now one would think after my posts about DIY personal care products that I’d have a couple of containers:  Homemade body butter, homemade toothpaste, homemade deodorant, face washing oil, and baking soda and ACV to wash and rinse my hair.  I hate to admit it, but no, one would be quite wrong. Quite.  Here’s a picture of my drawer full of haircare products, lotions, and other stuff I didn’t want to throw away because (1) I spent money on all that stuff!, (2) I need products for curly hair days and straight hair days, right?, and (3) what if I change my mind and want to slather myself with chemicals for the sake of beauty?

Where'd all that stuff come from?
Where’d all that stuff come from?

I guess it’s time to fish or cut bait, isn’t it?  Part of me is still hanging on to the lie that Ms. Vesterfelt talked about in her article – “This is NOT how you do it.”  Normal people don’t go all hippy dippy and wash their hair with baking soda.  Normal people go to Walmart or Bath and Body Works and buy scented lotions to soothe and smooth dry skin.  Normal people need lots and lots of products because all of the magazines say so.

I don’t really believe that lie – not anymore.  So why have I hung on to all of those chemical laden products?  Because I have a giant drawer or two or three that will hold all of that junk?  Because out of sight is out of mind?  Perhaps.

My day of reckoning has come.  I will go through each drawer/cupboard/medicine cabinet and get rid of products that (1) have ingredients that are harmful, (2) I’ve been saving for just in case, and (3) that I know I’ll never use – even if I spent a brick load of money for it!

Done!  Here is a picture of after.

Obviously I like the green hair product, I wear my hair curly and straight!
Obviously I like the green hair product, I wear my hair curly and straight!

It wasn’t easy.  I didn’t throw away everything.  I’m not yet crunchy enough for that.  But all that I saved would fit nicely in one box.  A small one.  And that was the purpose of this exercise in the first place.

I got so inspired I attacked my makeup drawer.  Previously I’d written about my pared down travel makeup, but I have other products that I’ve kept and am not yet ready to part with.  I’m embarrassed to show you the before picture, but here ya go.

I know, I know, don't judge
I know, I know, don’t judge

Now here’s the after.

Some duplicates, but I'll use them up and not replace them
Some duplicates, but I’ll use them up and not replace them

I divided the makeup into foundation/blush, eye makeup, lotions, nail stuff, plus a few miscellaneous things.  I still have way too many products, but rather than throwing them out I will use them and only replace each item as I use it up.  I have several duplicates as you can see.  Oh well, no one is perfect.

Obviously I have a few other things tucked away in other cupboards, but honestly there isn’t that much more.  Everything in these two drawers, plus all of the others can easily fit into one medium sized box, that’s including my husband’s stuff as well.  Not too bad, right?

How about you?  Do you also have too much stuff?  Want to join me as I go room by room, drawer by drawer (don’t worry, I’ll spare you all the pictures!) and get all of my stuff down to a more manageable amount?  It would be great if I could have one box for each room of the house, though I doubt that is even remotely possible.  I’m going to try and see what I can do.  Is it weird that I’m excited about this?

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