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Intentionalist, not Minimalist

Clean Kitchen!I recently rediscovered a post about intentionalism by Shanna Trenholm. She says that she prefers to label herself an Intentionalist rather than a Minimalist.

I resonate with her choice of labels. When people start getting rid of things and COUNTING how many things they have left, letting go becomes a contest and a push.

I get rid of things slowly and gently, so that I can have more ease in my life, and more room for the people who are the gems in my world. How about you?

An Example
This holiday week, I took a day to whisk two teens out of town. I took them to the Ann Arbor Art Museum and Zingerman’s Deli, about an hour away. It was an amazing day… They are good friends but had never been together for that many hours at one time before.

While I was gone, Brian took a ride with a bunch of his bicycle friends. At the end of the ride, they all came over to our home for an impromptu warm up and chat.

How things have Changed
Now, in past years, if Brian expected company I would freak out if I didn’t have several days’ notice to tidy up. I had piles on every flat surface, storage boxes out, in corners, and under the tables; and yarn, paper and other creative projects everywhere. It made things pretty hard to just sit down and chat without a frenzy of activity first.

But this week? They popped in without any notice. And I was out of town. And… not only was the house tidy enough to function, tidy enough to have 3 guys sit at the kitchen table with a clear spot in front of them… but I had baked the night before. Brian served them homemade baked goods with their tea or coffee. Score!

(The above photo is our kitchen on a normal morning these days. It has stuff on the counter which belongs there, but no dirty dishes. I took the photo not having planned a photo shoot. Amazing!)

I truly can’t believe how my life has changed. It fills me with gratitude and relief.

In just a few years my life has become transformed. It started maybe 6 years ago, certain moments made some purges necessary (the big one being my food allergies requiring a huge letting go in the kitchen). The little pebbles have become an avalanche of goodness, and my life is now functional and lovely.

The Turning Point: a Community
Three years ago, I realized that I was not making things happen as quickly as I wished. As a People Person, it became obvious that I needed peers on my journey of tossing things out. I started a Facebook group to find others on the same path.

(If you feel like letting go gently, you canĀ  join my public Facebook group, Toss-It Tuesdays, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/tossittuesdays/ )

Eyes on the Prize?
I will never have a House Beautiful because I no longer want one. I want to be able to find things when I need them. I need to find things without flipping out and tossing one mess on top of another while calling myself stupid.

And most of all, I want to open my door to loved ones and valued acquaintances, any time they show up at my door. I don’t want to feel ashamed.

Tea Table

An Open Door
About two years ago I decided to open the door even if I didn’t like what my guest would see. I started to live as I professed: That people are/were more important than my lack of housekeeping pride. At first, I would just clear the table while they watched.

Since then, I’ve had a lot of friends over for a cup o’tea. It has been wonderful.

And this week? When Brian told me of his impromptu gathering, I was joyous! This is something I have believed could happen for years but never accomplished.

Still on a Journey
Now, don’t think I’m finished. Our attic, garage and basement are still in need of tossing. But community started things rolling for me, and I’m grateful.

Toss it Team, in the Works
I’m currently preparing a website for a private community of tossers, where members can chat using nicknames and know that snoopy outsiders or employers can’t see their activity. This evolved from requests I got, from friends who play it quiet on Facebook or who don’t go there at all. It will have a very small membership fee to support it, but not so high that it will keep people out who wish to participate.

That site isn’t ready yet, but if you go to www.TossItTeam.com you can read about it and sign up for an email notice when it is up and operating. I’m in a testing phase right now.

My Wish for You
May you find ways to live your own dreams, whatever they be. They can happen, one at a time, one day/step at a time. I believe we all can do it!

One Response to “Intentionalist, not Minimalist”

  1. Diana Troldahl Says:

    Lovely! Oscar and I had a discussion on the topic of missing people visiting. I told him we CAN keep the public areas tidy and welcoming without it being a huge chore, that we are already almost there.
    Our new home (only 16 days until we sign the lease!) is going to be very different in many ways, the best is that it will be welcoming to all.

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