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Clearing space

Thursday, December 31, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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It's New Years Eve down here in 'Futureland' where we are living the future every day and writing home to tell you all about it so you know what to expect.

Tomorrow I may even find time to write to you all from 2010 and let you know whether we finally get those personal jetpacks we've all been waiting for since 1975.

But today I'm cleaning and clearing. There is something about starting a New Year (and a new decade!) that just makes me want to have clean floors and a less chaotic closet.

My friend Susannah was busy doing something very similar all the way up there in the wintry north. She mentioned to me that she was planning to pare her life down to the absolute essentials, so she could be freer to pick and move when life offered her an opportunity too good to refuse. I love the idea and lived that way for a long time but somehow, in the two years since I got back from Afghanistan, I seem to have accumulated all sorts of stuff.

I decided to make a list of my essentials, the things I think I'd need to survive and thrive anywhere. From there I figured I could start getting rid of everything else. I'd love to know what would make it onto your list.

Here's mine (I reserve the right to amend this whenever I go to use something and realise that I wouldn't want to live without that either)

I reckon that's all I really need. So why so much stuff? I guess the piles of books are part of the problem, and all the kitchen equipment. But there are plenty of things that can and will be culled. I seem to do this about three or four times a year and every time I find plenty to get rid of.

How about you? What would be on your packing list if you pared your life down to the essentials? How do you feel about lightening the load a little in preparation for the new year?


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11 Responses to "Clearing space"

  1. khristo says:

    dear marianne,
    recently discovered your blog – thanks for sharing your musings and inspiration.
    love and peace to you for the new year. i hope the journey holds many beautiful experiences and lessons for you . . .

  2. Susannah says:

    love it! i will make a proper list soon 🙂
    ps. i love you xox

  3. Steffi says:

    Love your list!
    I’ve made something similar in my head recently, unstrapping myself of all things, imagining myself with just a backpack on my back and the cat travel box + cat in my right hand, giving all my furniture and other belongings away. It was so freeing.
    I’ll go and think about my list.
    Happy New Year’s Eve!!

  4. asiyah says:

    If y’all get jetpacks then I’m moving to NZ for sure!
    I have lived with my life pared down for so long that I feel good about accumulating some items. But yes, after realizing that certain things have been in storage for years and years and not thinking about them, well – that helps the minimalism.
    Except I have one black cardigan and red slippers in Afghanistan that I think about often – should’ve brought those back with me last time…

  5. i will most certainly be working on my list, too. and apparently we could be even more twin in our dresses (i have it in blue) and havaianas.
    one of my wishes for 2010 is to spend an afternoon with you…
    namaste and a kiss,

  6. i’ve been clearing out too – remembering that it was only 2 years ago when we moved to london with only a backpack each and now we seem to have a houseful of things. some of it is not ours (we rent a fully-furnished flat), and there is a lot of it that recently has been making its way out the door to new homes via charity donation bins, ebay & the shared library in our apartment complex. i love the feeling of being able to pick up and go somewhere new at a moments notice, though i do find myself collecting a lot of things as soon as i land anywhere! i guess the trick is not attaching too much to any of it, so it can be passed on if the opportunity to go somewhere new presents itself and a hurried escape route is called for 🙂
    for me, the essentials would include a couple of treasured books (including a cup of sunlight by juliet batten), my music and audiobooks (so, yes the iphone), a journal & my favourite pen, a camera, my laptop, the taonga from home, a cup and a bowl. i guess now that we are practising bikram yoga again, the mat could come too, though renting one (for me) is also a workable option.
    happy new year to you friend

  7. sas says:

    oh this is brilliant.
    i have goosebumps from all your lists!
    my word for twenty ten is ‘shed’: shedding the crap, clearing space.
    this post and its resonances are like a talisman that i am on the right path.

  8. Anton says:

    I’m keeping all the fantastic people in my life that give me good energy, i’m also keeping my soul, and my unbroken heart and the other good things that come with me on my Peace-Safari…….
    Thats all i need for 2010…

  9. Let’s see – these are just pseudo-essentials, since I’d survive without them but would probably just replace them in my new environment:
    1) my MacBook, who needs a library when I have so much saved digitally
    2) a cashmere sweater the dharma center gave me in Mongolia
    3) my Birkenstocks or my Chaco sandals
    4) super-small Tara figure that a Buddhist monk gave me
    5) prescription glasses – sometimes you just get older but still want to see
    Wow, I think that’s it. I guess as long as I connect with people through all of our wonderful electronic mediums, I don’t need to hang on to any of the other mementos.

  10. susanna says:

    Oh yes, you and I are on the same page here. Often I look around our apartment and think, If we had to move within a month, what would we take with us? On my starter list:
    1) husband. He’s a keeper.
    2) cat in carrier – won’t that be fun for him, for the both of us?! 🙂
    3) camera for sure.
    4) zune for music
    5)favourite photos/sketchbooks
    6)address book (hey, we’ll need places to crash!)
    7)cell phone (to give our family and friends a heads up that we’ll need their pullout couches)
    8)water bottle, pillows, blanket, matches or lighter, cash…you know, the basics
    9)my ugly orthodics (good lord, I paid enough for them that they have to come!)

  11. JennyB says:

    I just wanted to say that I LOVE Uniball pens! They are the only ones I can stand to use!
    That, and I am also cleaning — next weekend, we have a three-day weekend because of Martin Luther King Day — so I am going to town on cleaning the apartment! I am always purging and removing excess from my life. I do let it accumulate to a point but then I always get rid of it.
    x, Jenny

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