Minimalist in DC

The Quest for Less "Stuff" & More Time

Feeling Lighter After Three Months of Minimalism

As I de-owned each room over the last three months, I threw away far more than I donated (who knew we had so much junk). Anything that was remotely useful, I gathered into a haphazard pile, waiting for critical mass before making the first trip to Goodwill. In mid-December, I took my first load. As I shook the volunteer’s hand and drove away, I was struck with the most amazing feeling.

I was lighter.

Good-bye Stuff!

Good-bye stuff!

I will never again have to pick through that stuff. I will never again have to clean it or ponder whether to keep it or rearrange it so that I can reach something that I actually use. My car was lighter and I felt lighter, like the proverbial anchor had been removed.

That feeling was addictive. I went home that same day and cleaned half of the scariest room in the house and quickly amassed a pile bigger than the one I’d just shed. What ELSE could I get rid of? I went upstairs to the closet where I’d turned all my hangers backward in September and grabbed a sweater, eight shirts, and a belt that hadn’t been worn in almost four months. I never really liked them anyway.

I drove back to Goodwill and happened to catch an NPR TED Radio Hour discussing the various perspectives on compassion in today’s world, which made me realize that minimalism, though it many times begins as a self-improvement project, is also an important vehicle to spread compassion. Old belongings – the excess – move on to help someone else. The products that we discovered we don’t need and have stopped buying never make it to the landfill so we save a small corner of the planet for the next generation. The time we save goes directly back to doing something we love or being with someone that we care about. We’re calmer, happier, and that’s contagious.

By changing a small corner of the world – our corner – we can ignite change throughout. Minimalism, so far, has been the Best. Project. Ever.


  1. Happy New Year Amber! I love your ideas and plan to declutter. In one of your recent blogs you wrote something that resonated with me – about the meaning items hold for us. If they bring us a sense of joy (homemade item from a son or daughter, heirloom from grandmother, artwork from grandchild, etc.) than we keep them. If there is no meaning or we don’t use them, out the door! I used to say if you can’t eat it or wear it – don’t buy it! However, I am very happy my husband bought me the soundtrack of the musical “CATS” for Christmas!
    I want to mention one more thing. We stopped giving to Goodwill because of the outrageously HUGE salary the CEO collects. We are now giving to Salvation Army. Thanks for doing the blog Amber!

    • amberrking

      January 3, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      A soundtrack is the purrrfect minimalist gift (I couldn’t resist!). I usually check out charities on charity navigator, but Goodwill of DC isn’t rated (although the parent organization appears to be on Charity Navigator’s top rated list: Salvation Army isn’t rated either since it’s a religious organization. I think I’ll need to do some research and figure out if there are better places to go! Thanks for the tip!

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