min·i·mal /ˈminəməl/

  1. of a minimum amount, quantity, or degree; negligible.
  2. Art: characterized by the use of simple or primary forms or structures, especially geometric or massive ones.

For the last 3 months we’ve been leading a very minimalistic life. We shipped our personal belongings (furniture, and all but essentials) early November from our home in Southern California.

Up until two days ago we’ve been living out of suitcases and only the belongings we could carry in our cars. Our favorite clothes, very basic kitchen utensils, two folding lawn chairs, a tiny folding table we have for camping, and of course our laptops and my camera gear.

We’ve slept on an air mattress (with our good bedding), made coffee with a coffee press, cooked with one pot and one pan, watched “TV” (i.e. Netflix) on our laptops, and for the most part been perfectly satisfied.

Sure, there were things we missed: our bed, sofa, electric coffee maker, a few of our clothes that we neglected to pack (my Uggs for one thing, damn it’s cold on the east coast!!) but life was simple and we did better than just survive.

Now that we have all of our things again, our house is stuffed full of boxes that need unpacking and I’m completely overwhelmed. Why do two people have so much stuff?!?

I find myself purging with ease. In one day I filled two large boxes of stuff that I have absolutely no desire to keep. They’ve already been dropped off at the Salvation Army.  It feels good.

Most of us keep so much stuff because we “might” need it one day. In reality, we’ll likely never use it. When was the last time I went skiing?? Seriously, if I haven’t hit the slopes in…I don’t know, a decade? then why am I schlepping ski pants from house to house? At least I had the sense to get rid of the skies the last move.

Sure, there are a few things I have that I rarely, if ever, use; but they bring me joy to see – and those I won’t be parting with anytime soon. Like the wine glasses my little brother bought me when I was 21. They are smallish (too small for regular use – no comments from the peanut gallery, please) but are very cute. And I love them because they were from him. And my massive collection of crafting supplies. It makes me happy to have mini-Michaels in my office.

So, my takeaways from this?

  1. Keep it if you use it
  2. If you don’t regularly use it, only keep what brings you joy

You might be asking yourself what, if anything this has to do with Photography. The answer is: not much. It is just a rambling of thoughts I’ve had over the last few days that I felt like sharing.

But I will leave you with this somewhat minimalistic photo:

Blackbird at Santee Lakes, CA

Blackbird at Santee Lakes, CA


Because sometimes simple is better.

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