The Closet

Almost everything I own is in this closet. It feels kinda crowded. Maybe I can let some stuff go before the next count.

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Right side of closet.

On the top shelf is my shower caddy. More about that later. In the boxes on the hanging organizer are socks and underclothes. Exercise clothes below that, then shoes. On hangers: coats and regular clothes. On the floor you can see the laundry basket and way in the back, rolled up, my yoga mat.

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Left side of closet

Backpack, purse, suitcase. The suitcase is housing some out of season sweaters and some gifts I have squirreled away for Christmas. You will note the towel is hanging from a clothes hanger. That is because at mom’s house, all the towels hanging in the baths are decorative. Yes, I know this is ridiculous, but it’s mom’s house and I am picking my battles.

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Top shelf, left

At the far left are pads of watercolor paper, then a couple of books I am currently reading, then a stack of odd-sized envelopes given to me from my sister-in-law which I will use with the watercolor paper to make greeting cards. Then, moving right, regular envelopes, checks, scissors and two metal tins. One houses my colored pencils and one my sewing supplies. On top of that, my hat. The box to the right stores my mementos: Mother’s day cards, poems I’ve published, photos.

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The shower caddy

Mom doesn’t like me to leave my shampoo and razor in the shower, so I carry my supplies into the bathroom in this contraption, a process like dorm students use.

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The caddy unpacked. And that little tin that says “Dark Chocolate Nibs” has cotton tipped swabs in it.

That is all my stuff, except for a small box of kitchen things being stored in the basement. I’m hoping that by my next count, I can get everything I own in the suitcase.

 

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Privilege and Minimalism

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Ebony and ivory keys harmonize.

My heart is breaking. My beloved hometown St. Louis, Missouri continues to be oppressed with life-threatening racial injustice. I feel silly posting photos of my closet.

So instead, I’m going to write about privilege and minimalism. Yes, I’m privileged. I’m a white, middle-class, educated, American. I’ve had my struggles with low cash flow (very different from poverty) and sexism. But it is a rare day that I am not fully aware that I have had access to education, abundance and luxury that most women in the world can only dream of. And it is because of this education and abundance that I have the privilege to decline some of it as too much.

~ minimalism is sometimes criticized as a spoiled persons’ game.

Minimalism can benefit the individual practitioner with reduced stress and increased savings. Often folks new to minimalism talk about these benefits first. But with longer practice, other blessings are revealed. Minimalism can be a high-priced aesthetic, or it can be practiced as voluntary simplicity. This is my version.

~ “Live simply so that others may simply live.” –Gandhi

By consciously choosing to use fewer clothes, a smaller home, less energy there are more of these available for other inhabitants of the earth. By not filling my time with meaningless activities, I learn the equanimity to sit with difficult emotions and not add my own troubled reactions to the fray. I use my love of my brothers and sisters, both black and white to be a bridge over the violence.

I use my voluntary simplicity as a tool for social justice.

My New Space

Let’s start with photos of what it looked like before I moved in. First I had to get rid of the stuff in the closet. Found some of dad’s stuff that had been in there for decades.

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Top of closet: left.

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Top of closet: right. Some of this stuff was precious family history…and some was just junk.

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Bottom of closet: left.

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Bottom of closet: right.

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My brother often slept in this bed, when he was visiting. This was his room when he was in high school. Note the antique and broken clock radio on the night stand.

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The flower arrangement and basket on the top self originally belonged to my great-grandmother, who died when I was 4 years old. (dust magnet) A few of the mugs and books were saved for family that wanted them…the rest was sent to a charity shop. The bookshelf is in the basement…being used as a staging area.

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The Birdseye maple chest is a stunning antique, also my great=grandmother’s. The fashion prints are antiques (we’ll see later if they are worth anything.) The alabaster lamp antique, the red, white and blue pillow and the floral arrangement–trash picked treasures mom was willing to let go of. The rug, mom has moved to the family room.

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The floor: was a mid-tone brown that I would have been completely happy with (I am NOT one of those HGTV princesses that “can not” live with light-colored wood or parquet.) But this had a wax finish, which meant that is was susceptible to water marks. And they were all over the floor.

Sooo–I cleaned out the room, I sanded the floors. I stained the floors (choosing a dark walnut that matched most of the other floors in the home) and then I put down the polyurethane coating. Then the room smelled so bad, that I could not sleep in it for weeks. Even when I was still sleeping in the master, I moved my furniture in.

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Here is the new, dark walnut stain of the floors.

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You probably remember this cabinet from the apartment–it still has the router and lap top stored inside. The orchid is new.

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The table you will remember from the apartment, the chair was borrowed from another room in mom’s house, and the lamp was purchased on-line. It is the only lamp in the room and I needed enough light I could read and sew during the winter dark.

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The bed looks the same as when it was in my house. I thought for sure one of the kids would take it…but no, so still mine for now.

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I’m so proud of this decor: I did not want something figurative/literal, as I get bored with that kind of image very quickly. I love the sea glass colors–I find them restful. Everything came from the hobby stores. Frame 36″ x 24″ at 70% off at $16, all four paint colors for $3, and the watercolor paper was $0.63 per sheet. So this art that makes me happy was $21.50. My original configuration of the sheets was as 16″ x 45″ headboard, but that was going to cost $410 for the frame, so we went with plan B.

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Here is my view out the window–straight out.

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And the view if you are looking right.

Next week the closet…..

 

 

Back to School

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My main new school supply is a yoga mat.

Since I moved into mom’s house, I’ve been fixing up my room. (Photos next week) And just beginning the process of helping her declutter junk. I resume writing this week, now that my room is done. The other thing I am doing in my retirement free time is taking classes.

I’ve signed up for weekly yoga by myself, twice a week Tai Chi with mom, a Spanish course that starts in October and two one time only classes on embroidery technique. There are many more courses that I want to take, but I thought I should start slow.