14 In Lifestyle

Curate Your Life: Letting Go

In a previous post I showed you a cleaned out desk drawer, but I decided to go back and let go of the hole punch and the mini stapler. I tried to remember when the last time I used the hole punch was, but I couldn’t remember. So I decided to let it go. Then I thought about the last time I reached for the mini stapler, but I couldn’t remember. When I’m at school I use the stapler in the copy center, so I don’t have any need for a mini stapler to carry with me.

Since these were both in good condition, I decided to put them in a bag to take to the donation center.

These days I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of stress from work and school, so I’ve been craving a cleaner space. I’ve been listening to podcasts and youtube videos related to minimalism, because although I don’t consider myself a minimalist I do want to reduce the amount of stuff I have. The reason I still don’t want to become a minimalist is that there seems to be a good number of people out there who insist upon judging your credentials as a minimalist based on the number of possessions you have.

Also, I do enjoy collecting things as I’m exploring and experiencing the world, and I also enjoy different arts and crafts. It’s hard to just have one colored pencil; mine is a set of different colors. It’s hard to just have one color of paint as they come in so many different colors. I don’t want to deprive myself of any of these experiences, but I do want to take some of the minimalist ideas as I lead a more curated life. It would be nice if there was a word for being a curator-ist, but it just doesn’t have a nice ring to it like minimalist has.

I decided that I want to keep these figures that I got in Amsterdam, but I didn’t really want them on display anymore as I wanted to clear my space a bit more. Because I don’t have a suitable box at the moment to serve as a “maybe box” I put them in a brown paper bag that I had on hand.

I left the milk maid because Vermeer’s Milkmaid painting is one of my favorites and I was thrilled to see it when I was in Amsterdam. The small wooden scoop is not part of the play-mobile set, but since I don’t have my own kitchen at the moment I’m saving it as a display. I got this wooden scoop from Borough Market in London and one day I will use it in my kitchen. I might let go of that ink though, because although the bottle is very pretty you can see that it’s collecting dust and I rarely find myself reaching for it. I think the best thing I could do is start using it up and practicing calligraphy more often, but I know that I won’t be purchasing it again once I get rid of it.

The three hardest things that keep me from letting things go are:

#1. I spent quite a bit of money on it. Naturally it’s easier to let go of things when they don’t cost much, but with bigger purchases I can’t shake the feeling that I would like to get my money’s worth out of it before I let it go. One option would be to try to sell it, but that is also a pain because I need to negotiate the cost and then go out of my way to the post office to send it. For example, there is a leather jacket I am certain I want to let go, but even though I got it from Zara it was still quite a bit of money. It’s also something that would be a real pain to ship somewhere….

#2. Will I need it again? If you read my previous post you’ll know that I debated on whether or not to keep the hole punch, because it’s one of those things that are hard to borrow on short notice from a neighbor or friend. It’s easier to get rid of duplicates because you know you’ll have one even if you throw one out, but when it’s the only one you have? In the case of the hole punch I spent some time mulling over scenarios in which I would need a hole punch but I couldn’t think of a single one. I might have needed it if I had a ring-binder but I don’t particularly like ring-binders and avoid them whenever I can. They’re uncomfortable to write in, they always snag my fingers, and the pages are forever tearing out. So I came to the conclusion that I’m probably never going to get a ring-binder, and since I’ve had that hole punch for years without ever using it, I decided to put it in the donation bin.

#3. How will it impact the environment. Can it be recycled? Can someone else use it? Sometimes it’s not and it weighs on my conscious. Even if it can be recycled I feel bad for contributing to so much waste.

Just an hour ago, I spent more than half an hour trying empty out the manicure paint from more than a dozen manicure bottles and swore to myself that I would never let myself accumulate this much nail polish ever again. While I loved changing my nail polish every week back in my mid-20s, I find that I rarely use nail polish these days as I like the natural look of my nails and fingers. I kept a handful of colors that I still enjoy, and let the rest go. Although I’m glad that Korea has a pretty good recycling system, I still felt awful for having produced so much waste. I’ve really been inspired by Blue’s vlogs on living a zero-waste lifestyle. I first heard about zero-waste on a Korean blog called The Insignificant Minimalist. I found her blog while looking for a non-plastic tumbler and have been slowly trying to reduce the amount of waste that I produce. So when I was throwing out my manicure collection, I couldn’t help but feel remorse over the amount of waste I was throwing out.

Your turn ♥ Have you ever heard of the zero-waste movement? Think about one thing you could purge from your life today!

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  • oooh, i have the same ink! did we already gush over that? i feel like we did but it’s also been a long time ago i think! i’m actually kind of surprised you’re letting go of a leather jacket – usually those are staple/classic pieces.

    weirdly enough nail polish is so hard to give away?? i also have my fair share of nail polish and i’ve noticed that most colors, my friends don’t want haha… though to be fair, i did a lot of nail art back in the day too :p i wish nyc had a better recycling/garbage disposal program! nobody really… cares? if they recycle or not. recently it’s a law that all restaurants have to recycle and everyone was so confused on what to recycle LOL thankfully my mom is a law abiding citizen and is really good with recycling! we also started a composting program, the dept of sanitation gave out these little brown bins to put our food waste into but nobody around my block uses them…

    becky @ star violet

    • Kim

      I vaguely remember gushing over it with you xD It has been a while hasn’t it? I think it may have been on instagram?! I did get the leather jacket because of the classic design, but I think I just haven’t found “the one” yet. It has a belt that is always slipping off because the buckle is heavier than the rest of the belt, and I feel a bit restricted movement-wise. I think I would be open to trying a lighter leather jacket that was more comfortable to spend the day in.

      Many of my friends prefer to get their nails done rather than do their nails themselves, and I also had obscure colors that generally aren’t used for the entire nail lol :P Korea has a pretty good recycling system as it’s pretty much mandatory. Most places will have a separate bin for plastic cups and paper. I recently read that sending something to recycling doesn’t mean that it will actually be reused because it depends on the quality and type of plastic :S I don’t know how true this holds, but I’ve definitely been more conscious about the types of waste I’ve been producing.

  • I agree, it’s harder letting go of expensive items. I sold a bag before to a co-worker so that worked out well but selling online is too much trouble for me.

    I end up donating my unwanted items or giving it to my sister’s. I also hate throwing things away unless it’s completely damaged.

    This reminds me to be conscious when Christmas shopping this year. I end up splurging on myself and panic buying. Ahhh, the dilemma. I need to re-program my brain when it comes to shopping.

    • Kim

      I always feel relieved when I can sell or give something away to someone else who actually wants what I have. It’s so much easier than trying to do online transactions, I totally agree! It’s great that you got to sell that bag to your co-worker!

      I think holidays tend to make our hold on our wallets a bit looser :P I’m certainly guilty of splurging on myself as well hehe xD My goal is to get something plastic-free this year because I’m trying to be more eco-friendly! ;)

      • That’s a good idea. I am trying to be more conscious with waste as well. I definitely have my fair share of wasting too much.

  • I’ve been cleaning up my room lately and thought the same thing as you- “When was the last time I used x??”. It’s good to clean up a bit and dispose/donate things they don’t really bring much value to you. I’m not a minimalist either and I am totally ok with that XD.

    Oh my goodness, I have the hardest time letting go of something if I knew I spend a lot of money on it! It’s good that you’re practicing safe habits on disposing of things like nail polish.


    • Kim

      That question definitely makes you think about whether you really, actually need the item; or at least move it to a “maybe” box! I think money makes it really hard to let go of things, especially if you haven’t got your “money’s worth” from it. I don’t have that much issue of letting go of things that are worn out, because I feel like I’ve gotten good use from them, you know? I guess it’s a bit of guilt mixed in there too. I’ll feel guilty about having bought something that I didn’t really end up using >.<

  • Kim this post is so spot on. First of all, it makes me want to rush home ASAP and start cleaning out my desk, LOL. But secondly, I’m glad it’s not just me that has those same three dilemmas when deciding to get rid of things. I would also add perceived sentimental value as a fourth, because I am that type of person who somehow ends up feeling emotionally attached to things. Do you have an good podcast reccs from your listening? I can’t see myself ever identifying as a minimalist but like you, am still working for a cleaner, clearer space. Thanks for the inspiration, lady!

    Kathryn • simplykk.com

    • Kim

      Right?! I was the same way. Once I saw people decluttering and living minimal lifestyles I thought to myself that my room could use some decluttering! Sentimental value is something I definitely struggle with. It’s partly why I’ve been starting with things that I don’t have much sentiment invested in (like the stapler!) As for podcasts, I recommend: https://www.theminimalists.com/podcast/

      • Just stopping back in to say that I’m LOVING The Minimalists podcast. So good, thanks for the recommendation!

        • Kim

          AHH!! I’m so glad you enjoyed their podcast! They always talk about the most interesting things and get me so motivated to declutter!

  • Reading this post makes me reflect on my own mess of a room and many possessions. I think recycling via donations is a great way to reduce waste. I think if I find that I don’t use or touch something, it has to be let go. Thinking about how much you’ve spent definitely adds an activation barrier towards tossing.

    • Kim

      Hopefully all the things I donate will find their way to good homes :D

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