Sunday, January 1, 2017

Here's some unsolicited advice: Never watch Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things right before the start of a new year. Just don't do it.

Not only will you get heebie-jeebies when anyone describes themselves as "a hugger," but you'll spend the duration of the documentary creating a mental checklist of things that need to be sold/donated/burnt in a backyard trash can immediately.

I tend to dabble minimalism. Truth be told, I typically enjoy ridding my closet, house, and life of things more than I like buying and receiving new stuff. According to the California Department of Transportation's report Tract Housing in California, 1945-1973:A Context for National Register Evaluation report, our 846 square foot home was built in the "postwar minimal" (also known as "minimal traditional") style common in neighborhoods built for returning World War II veterans and their young families. Of course, at that point in time, families didn't typically have two cars, closets full of fast fashion manufactured in China, an abundance of small kitchen appliances, and multiple personal computers. In order to comfortably fit into our house, we must constantly assess the usefulness of every item to cross its threshold.

Oh, don't tell me to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I did, and it took a decent concept to a laughable level. I'm all for systematically purging your home of clutter. That's kind of my deal. But when you tell me that I need to remove all the contents from my purse when I get home each day and then put it in a protective bag....just...no.


While Christmas was magical this year (toddlers are delightful), it brought with its twinkling lights and warm family gatherings an inordinate amount of clutter. Gifts to and from us hidden in various nooks and crannies, stacks of half-empty cookie tins, and enough cardboard to build an MLS soccer stadium in Sacramento. I tend to be superstitious about packing up Christmas prior to the start of the new year, even more so at the close of the cursed and deadly 2016. So it's gone. Every single stocking, ornament, Christmas sock, and candle has been safely tucked into a storage box in the attic, which won't see the light of day until December 1st, 2017.

And yet, it wasn't enough.  Damn those Minimalists and their tiny, empty houses and their stupid huggy hugs.

Life has changed quite a bit over the past year. The dress code at UC Davis is decidedly more related than it was at Drexel and University of the Pacific. In fact, I don't think I've worn heels once since starting my new position in late July. Yet my closet still contained the remnants of a different, more structured life: blazers, pencil skirts, pumps, and pearls.

So woke up this morning and quickly set to work with our phone cameras and Nextdoor accounts. Here's what we were able to sell in the past twelve hours...

Stuff That's No Longer Our Stuff

  • Brand new fireplace tool set (because it turns out our fireplace will never work!)
  • Mid-century modern formica tiered end table
  • Hot pink J. Crew Cece flats (these were for a wedding, I don't typically wear hot pink)
  • Hot pink Betsey Johnson peep-toe pumps (see above)
  • 5x7 Anthropologie Coqo rug in lime (still available on Nextdoor for $30)
  • Blinds (still available on Nextdoor for $15)
  • 5 other pairs of shoes
Oh, we're not done.


I haven't even touched the coat closet/wardrobe out in the garage. Yes, we have a wardrobe in the garage, but we'll get to that when we talk about Bertridge and its many quirks. A post for another day.

For now, we're just basking the starkness of our living room. It's clean, sterile, and a space conducive to new year's reflection and meditative thought. Our world is changing, rapidly and frighteningly, and so carving out a small space to call your own so that you can come home, decompress, and reflect on how you can use your talents to make the world a better place is a sweet and achievable luxury.

I hope that we can all find strength, courage, and resilience 2017. May we resist the temptation to create escapes, and work toward creating spaces that inspire us to truly make a positive difference in the lives of others. This year, don't close your eyes. Look the world and its beauty and its cruelty straight in the face and acknowledge it. Call it out. Denounce the bad. Celebrate the kind and the beautiful.

Yeah, I know. That got a little weird. But 2016 has been bizarre year, and 2017 is bound to be a bumpy ride. So I'm fastening my seat belt and getting rid of the baggage.

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