Minimizing the Minimalist

“It is the heart that makes a man rich.
He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

One month from today, the journey begins.

I’ve long considered myself to be a minimalist. Living as I did as a child, and having moved as many times as I have, I’ve never really been one to have a lot of “stuff”.  Nevertheless, when scaling down even the most minimal of lives, compressing 60 years of the journey so far into less than 15sf is a daunting task. Here’s the idea: Let’s say you’re 5’ 5″ tall … lie down on the floor with your head touching a wall and with one arm spread out, fingertips touching the cornered wall. Mark where your feet and the side of your body are. Get up and draw a square with those guidelines … now imagine having to put all of your life’s belongings in that space. Or less.

4 paper boxes … one for summer clothes, one for winter, one for transitional seasons. One for jeans/pants/shorts. Clothes must be knit (no ironing or hanging) and layerable … no room for heavy winter coats – rather, layer smaller multi-season jackets and sweaters.  How many t-shirts can fit in a box? How many sweaters? Smaller box for unmentionables, socks, a pair of gloves, a scarf, a hat. Another for toiletries, safety pins, nail clippers, comb, brush, a few make-up and first aid items (make up = first aid). File box for essential papers. A crate for a few books that sing to my heart, and for diaries & pens. Tent, sleeping bag, pillow and one more blanket. One fork, one spoon. Note to self: need to get a new pocket knife. One towel, one facecloth. Totes for a few precious hand-made mementoes and gifts received from many who I will finally be able to meet along the way.

Shoes. *sigh* I’m still a female, and the gene for too many shoes didn’t pass me by.  Though they may not be spangled or stilettoed any longer, I admit I still have a kaleidoscope of sandals and sneakers and boots … and an occasional kitten thrown in for special nights.  They cry out to me from behind closed closet doors, “Take me! Take me! You need me…”  Alas, I can’t, my sweet little sidekicks … you served me well but now time has come to venture into a new world, and only those who have prepared well … the sturdiest and most steadfast of you … will be chosen. But no tears for the rest of you … good homes await you, homes where you will be welcomed and cherished, and worn for many years to come.

Yes, the journey before the journey is daunting, but it also serves to remind me of what it is truly important in life.  Without question, it is difficult to pack the physical accumulations of one’s life into the backseat of a car  … but think, then, how incredibly infinite our hearts must be to hold all of the love and moments and memories of that same life.  Our lives are so much more than what can be seen.


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