March 30, 2012 Leave a comment
The day had finally arrived and I couldn’t have been happier. My brother drove my rented truck solo 2,000 miles from Woodbury to my new home in West LA earlier this month. He arrived on a typical sunny LA day and backed the 16 foot truck into the driveway. I waited eagerly on the sidewalk for him to push the giant door open. I felt a burst of excitement, a longing for the things that make me feel at home, and a certain fear knowing I wasn’t going anywhere for at least a year.
The two of us began to unload the truck, which is something we have never done with so few people. It was probably the most exhausting three hours of my life. Andy and I were a bit slap happy, both from the exhaustion of hauling boxes and furniture and the excitement of seeing each other. At one point I actually crumbled on the stairs underneath my flopping mattress, trying to cry and laugh at the same time. I’m sure my neighbors thought the new tenant in apartment five was nothing short of a nut job.
On the first day, I stood in the middle of the living room and looked around at all that surrounded me. I couldn’t help but think of that man I never knew, who was also buried in his belongings, only in a different way. I spent the first half of March hibernating in my apartment, attempting to tear down the mountain of things I have accumulated over the years. It was a difficult process in many ways. Physically, it was just a lot of work, but I also had to decide what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to donate.
The joy of it was that unpacking made everyday feel a bit like Christmas as a child. Each box I opened contained an abundance of tightly wrapped goodies. I felt a certain anticipation as I eagerly unwrapped the newspaper dated September 2010. Mixed emotions flooded my apartment. Childhood treasures made me laugh and memorabilia of lost ones made me long for the faded memories of my past.
After living the life of a minimalist for 17 months I thought it would be easy to rid myself of these things I thought I needed. It was easier than I thought, but there were some things I wanted to hold onto, things that reminded me of people who no longer exist in my life. I forced myself to the decision that unless the possession is one that belonged to the dear five that have left this world, then it had to go. There is no point in trying to hold onto something that is clearly long gone.
Once I instilled a little more logic and a little less heart into my unpacking process, it became much easier. This sent me into a tossing fit, filling a dozen giant boxes with donations for the Goodwill. As I filled the boxes, the practical crafter inside me situated herself on my shoulder, whispering ideas of recycled art projects into my ear. I have been here before and found that is where a lot of my clutter comes from: art supplies. I decided to minimize the things to keep for art, but did make some fun projects out of them.
A pitcher filled with wine corks was turned into coasters, which was perfect because I didn’t have any.
A soap dispenser was given to me by my sister, which I splashed with colorful paint to match my bathroom. As long as it’s in my own home I actually like to use a bar of soap, but I can get down with the dispenser. As long as it doesn’t dispense foam soap. To me, foam soap is symbolism at it’s best when showing how lazy our country is. We can’t even take a moment to work up a lather! I cringe every time I press a soap lever and a perfect swirl of white foam lands in my palm. It seems ridiculous, but I guess it’s just one of those little things that drives me crazy.
Currently, I am working on turning twenty t-shirts into a blanket, which will also be perfect because the only blanket I have is on my bed. I would hate to sleep in my sleeping bag when I forfeit my bed to my upcoming visitors.
So, even though I got rid of more things than I probably kept, I was able to turn a couple of things into new adornments for my home. What are some of your favorite ways to recycle your belongings?