Minimalism Series Part 4: Freebies

Before we got ready for our sideways move: which was simply to a different apartment in the same city to be closer to downtown so hubby could walk/bike to work, we did another purge.

Since then we have gotten out and explored more of the city. Bike rides, jogging, and walking have been our new exercise loves. Attending local events and the farmers’ markets on weekends to eat healthier, along with scouting the gorgeous libraries here have also been fun pursuits!

We looked into and were approved for getting a loan for our new car when we needed one and have been actively working on realizing what we want out of life and taking steps to make it happen. We have been rocking the minimalism thing like nobodies business!

I remember that I knew we had gotten close to the “click point” until I realized that we still had a lot of things that feed into this very important category that we had somehow gotten overlooked:        Things that were “free”

In Depth On Free stuff: Gift With Purchase. Freebies. No Obligation. No Questions Asked. Free. Free. FREEEE! A few years ago I once convinced my husband to drive me over an hour to a store for the sole purpose of using my “free” coupon to get a mini candle and travel size body lotion (bath and body works shame on you for causing me to give into that temptation) which probably retailed at less than our gas money had cost to get there.

We are surrounded by marketing campaigns designed to rope us in to buying something we may or may not need, just so we can score a free whatsit that we almost definitely do not need. This is designed to make us feel as though we’ve come out winning. Designed to make us feel good.

How often do you gratefully accept these freebies, only to toss them out months later because, oddly enough, it wasn’t what you were buying in the first place and, shockingly, you have no use for it? I know I have gotten a grip on this as far as samples go but I hadn’t realized I was still falling into this trap when it came to…waitforit….books. Canvas totes for said books. Pens. Oh man freebies to the left and freebies to the right!

We had gone to BookCon in Chicago of 2016 and it was GLORIOUS. We made out like bandits during that trip. And we also got a lot of free stuff 😉

I was awash in a sea of freebies. ARCs and canvas bags galore. Hubby had even asked what we would do with those canvas bags *while we were still there* I had replied starry-eyed “We will use them for groceries!”

We have started to turn things around and gone “more green” in using cloth bags for groceries and using netted drawstring bags for produce.

The books that came home after BOOKCON I steadily reas and then passed those bound beauties onto one or the other of the plentiful little libraries that our city has a bounty of. I am not hoarding the books like was my habit before (Big but alert) BUT, I realized I had started to keep more things than I actually felt comfortable with keeping. I backslid just a wee bit.

I may have gotten a lot of those books for the sole reason that they were free. Okay fine, blunt honesty it was bound to happen and some I *did* only get because they were free. I felt like a kid on Halloween holding out my canvas bag and smiling as I scooped up another nomnom. I am a book addict afterall!

By randomly accepting different books in this manner I did manage to open up my reading repertoire to include genres I hadn’t really read or dove into prior. Like mysteries! I discovered in 2016 that I LOVE mystery novels; especially “cozy” mysteries which is like a sub genre of them. I had no idea I would relate to these tales so well.

Hubby pointed out that I am moving away from my love of YA to mysteries because I can’t relate as much to the high school settings and the mystery genre tends to focus on characters in the late twenty/early thirty age bracket. Dumbfounded by this casual observation I had blinked twice and exclaimed “You’re right!” To which hubby smiled and said “I know.”

I am also very proud of how I have grew specifically in regard to letting go of bad habits and outdated thinking processes that still lingered for some reason. Purging out things last year really helped me to start LIVING in a way I hadn’t before.

Back to the freebies though: the list of free things surrounding us is endless. Only, they’re not really free. Did you know that? I think I did, but I really stopped and made myself ponder this as I was sorting these “freebies”. There are resources used in their production, money spent on the marketing campaigns they are part of, and wages to pay those who sell the actual products being bought.

HOWEVER, there is also a major cost to the person accepting that stuff. Think about it: You paid no money for it, but you store it in your home. It contributes to the clutter that silently inexplicably stresses you out. At some point you will have to pick it up and decide where or how to rid yourself of it. Your time is more important than that.

Some Closing Thoughts: I never did want to narrow down my stuff until I had a certain number of items. That was not once my intent with being minimalist. I just wanted to get things down to where I felt like everything had a reason for being there and I did’t feel surrounded by items when I simply want to relax with a good book or what-have-you. (Clutter overwhelm)

When we made out lateral move it wasn’t anywhere near as overwhelming and we were able to knock it out quicker/easier too. Things that we never ever used or hadn’t used in over a year/since our last move that damnit why is that still here?! Those things made their last dance to the thrift store finally and I wash my hands of it. And it felt damn nice too. Badass even.

We also started to eat healthier as I referenced earlier. We have both been having more days of feeling healthy because we in fact are healthier than we were. We achieved so much since beginning to really question and pare down the excess. Everything that was left? It was and is used and needed.

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