Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Books, Books, and More Books... (Part 1)

"Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them."

That is how I felt, and how my house looked when I first looked around my apartment and realized how cluttered and overwhelming it was.

I had books. Books on bookshelves, on tables, on chairs, on counter tops, and even in stacks on the floor.

I simply had NO. more. space. And hundreds of them were books I'd never even read -- books I'd bought 2 or 3 or even more years ago, "intending" to read. (You booklovers out there know exactly what I'm talking about.)

I'd had the best of intentions, had anticipated reading all these books. I'd looked forward to it. Until I realized over 75% of the books in my possession were TBR (to be read).

And then my books, once so valued and wanted... became a burden. Every time I looked at the stacks and full bookshelves, I felt guilty for not reading them. Extremely guilty. I knew I would never read all of them, not at the rate I accumulate new ones. That's when I realized something had to give. It was either keep the mountains of books and read them all - a process that would literally take YEARS - or clear them out.

That's when I found this blog entry:

To Be Continued...

Space....the final frontier....

Okay, so the topic today isn't THAT kind of space.

It's about the space in my apartment. My apartment is 560 square feet. No more, no less. The fact of the matter is that you simply can't fit 1,200 sq feet of stuff into an apartment less than half the size.

So I've been downsizing in a major way. Thankfully, I didn't have tons of extra furniture. I'm a stuff packrat, not a furniture packrat.

I had a major breakthrough the other day. I read something -- could've been a blog post, article, book, I don't remember -- and it struck a chord with me.

It said something to the effect of:

"Do I want to keep this stuff I like or do I want space more?"

Is the extra stuff in your life worth sacrificing the space that it takes up? Or do you want the free, uncluttered space more.

Talk about mind-blowing. I'd never though of it like that before. Space or stuff?

After reading that, I loaded up 9 more bags and a box with books and DVDs to take to the bookstore.

I am not my stuff. I own it, it doesn't own me, and I value space more than stuff. Does that mean my house will become empty? No, of course not. I don't live in a hotel room, nor do I wish to look like I've taken hand-me-down furniture and household items post-disaster. My home will still look like mine, but what remains in the end will be more meaningful to me and worth the time spent to clean and maintain.

Most importantly, my home will be a peaceful, serene place that relaxes me instead of stressing me out.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lofts and Windows

Salams, everyone!

The topic of this post are lofts. You know, those uber-fashionable, super-modern, defnitely-rich-yuppie-aimed apartments. Exposed brick, usually wood or concrete floors, granite countertops, etc.

What gets me about them are the windows. BIG. Beautiful. Light-sharing. Windows.

I adore them. I long for them. Texas, however, being the largely sunny, hot place that it is, isn't too big on, well, big windows.

Actually, windows here about about the size of a postage stamp.




Having grown up in a beach town on the Gulf Coast (Gulf of New Mexico), every house had windows. Big windows. And lots of them.

Sometimes my apartment feels like a tomb because of the one small window in the bedroom and the sliding glass door in the living room. Yes, those are the only windows I have.

I had four big windows in my bedroom as a kid. Is it any wonder I'm feeling deprived?

I digress...

As I was saying, lofts generally have big windows and wood floors -- two things that are highly desirable in a living space for me. (I'd love to be able to ditch my vacuum cleaner one day in favor of a broom, dust pan, and mop.)

I'm finding that a more minimalist environment helps alleviate the "no windows/no light/no space/it's dark up in here" syndrome.

One less thing (especially when it comes to furniture) is one less thing to cast a shadow, to block the light that does come in, to gather dust, to take up space.

Room to breathe.

Dealing with Books

If you're a book lover like me, you know that cutting down the number of books you have is tough. REALLY tough.

In the next post I'll be talking about the process of weeding out my book collection, but I wanted to go ahead and share a post from the blog Becoming Minimalist called "Breaking the Sentimental Attachment to Books".


Salam aleikum and welcome to my new blog, Minimalist Muslimah. I'm going to be chronicling my adventures in minimalism as a Muslim here. Please stick around! I hope to have a REAL update soon!