Wednesday, May 1, 2013

the rule of fractions

Fractions are almost a bad word to some people--an association left over from grade school.  Maybe I should call this the rule of pie, and describe it in terms of a half, a third, a quarter of a pie... that would certainly get the bitter taste of math out of your mouth, wouldn't it?  Or, we could just move on and realize that fractions are a piece of cake. 

Wow, that paragraph is making me hungry. 

We all gather stuff.  As a college student on a budget, I live by "waste not, want not" for most of the year.  Yes, I wash out and save used Ziploc bags.  I hoard Goodwill sweaters.  I fix my $2 flip-flops with duct tape and keep on wearing them. 

But I'm also a minimalist, I like to think.  I think my dream in life is to boil my entire existence down to two or three big Rubbermaid tubs...but I know that won't happen.  I've got a thing for instruments, and ain't no Rubbermaid tub big enough for my guitar, harp, dulcimers, and violin!  But still, I prefer less clutter, less possessions, less feeling like I'm sitting on junk I'll never use. 

Conveniently, I move back and forth from the south to the Midwest several times a year.  The packing process is the perfect opportunity to just not pack some stuff and throw/give it away instead.  This is where the Rule of Fractions comes in.  This is the goal I set myself:

Get rid of half of my "stuff."  This means books, knick-knacks, school supplies I don't use, hair supplies/toiletries, miscellaneous stuff.  It's a good time to go just try to reduce overall. 

Get rid of a third of my clothing.  I toss, sell, or give away anything that doesn't fit me, anything that hasn't budged from its hanger in months, anything that's worn out and shouldn't be worn anymore.  I don't think there's anything wrong with having a largish wardrobe (even though I don't), but I do think you should wear everything you own on a regular basis.  It just makes sense!

Get rid of a fourth of my books.  This is the hardest part...because I am a full-blown bibliophile.  But last year, I realized that I often keep books just because they're books.  Like they're sacred.  Once I got that through my head, I was able to donate a whole stack of books that I didn't really care about or expect to read again.  Let others enjoy them.  Related to this: get a library card and borrow your books instead.  Only buy the ones you absolutely can't live without. 

Are you a math nerd/minimalist like me?  How do you set goals for downsizing and decluttering?