21 Days of Minimalism: Day 4

Yeah, I abandoned this over a month ago, but I want to start it again so I shall start right were I left off. My blog, my rules. Considering yesterday as Day 4 – The Essentials.

I am not doing this part of the challenge precisely as the minimalists suggest, for reasons I mentioned earlier, but here are some things related to this that I have done.

I scanned all of this sheet music over Monday and Tuesday, emptying 4 binders and getting them off of my shelf for good!

I scanned all of this sheet music over Monday and Tuesday, emptying 4 binders and getting them off of my shelf for good!

  • Continued scanning music and storing it in Dropbox. I chose Dropbox over my beloved Evernote in this case because it syncs seamlessly with the music reading app I use on my iPad.
  • Sold my couch! I am going to move all of my music gear out of the little cubbyhole it is stuffed and into the front part of my apartment where I can work more comfortably and efficiently. It’s a little strange not having a comfy place to sit right now, but it DID keep me from wasting the afternoon with a nap yesterday and I got a bunch done instead.
  • 20-30 magazines into recycling. Many of them unread. I cancelled the magazines I don’t read regularly. Leaving only Tape Op.
  • Emptied out the drawers under my TV. I had some manuals there that I found .pdfs of and stored in evernote. More unnecessary paper/booklets into recycling.
  • Scanned some old photos. I can’t bring myself to throw the actual photos in the trash…..yet.

The last place that needs a good deep cleaning and a sorting of junk is the space beneath my kitchen sink. I look forward to having that space. I’ll get on that tonight along with anything else the minimalists suggest for day five. I’m happy to be back on this! Until tomorrow…


21 Days of Minimalism: Day 3

Packing Party (lite)

I really felt like I was cheating by not packing everything up, but I did thoroughly clear out some junk.

I started in the bathroom. My apartment is small so I don’t have room for a dresser. All of my clothes that aren’t hung up, I keep in this linen cabinet. Here’s what it looked like before I got rid of some stuff:

Cabinet Before

and after:

Cabinet After

This is a bit deceiving, however, because I just dropped off a bunch of clothes at the laundry. Here’s the closetCloset Before before:

…and after:

Closet After I’ll see how all of this feels after I add back the clothes that are at the laundry. I have a huge black garbage bag with clothes to donate tomorrow.

I also tackled this junk drawer:

Drawer Before

now it looks like this:

Drawer After

As a point of reference, here’s a photo of everything I owned when I left Houston just over 7 years ago. How quickly stuff accumulates!


It feels like I put a big dent in things today, as well as another big batch of paper scanning. More sheet music OUT THE DOOR! More tomorrow!

21 Days of Minimalism: Day 2



I’ll admit I waited until this morning to do yesterday’s task: writing on a calendar each of the days of the journey. I’ll be out of town on October 17 and 18 so I took those days off from the challenge. There are quite a few days of “unpacking” scheduled, and since I’ve decided not to  physically pack things up. I will use each of those days (I think) to focus on one of several areas in my apartment I feel there is “stuff build up.” My closet, my medicine cabinet, the cabinets under my kitchen sink, and the “junk drawer” in my kitchen.

I feel a little like a cheater since I am not doing an actual packing day today, but given my small space and the fact that I have so little stuff, I think it makes more sense to approach it this way. I plan to be extremely aggressive in choosing what I get rid of.

A couple of weeks ago, I listed a bunch of CDs and DVDs on Amazon, and they have been slowly selling. I may choose to just give some of these away, since I am not making much money off of the sales and it seems a very slow way to get rid of this stuff. I have a couple of collectible box sets that I may hang on to, but…well… We’ll see.

In paperless world, I spent another 45 minutes or so scanning yesterday. I’m feeling overwhelmed by how much music I still have left to scan, but I am encouraged with how nice it looks in my Dropbox folder. I am really excited to be rid of all these binders and stacks of music. I am debating whether to store all of this music in Evernote as well as Dropbox, but I think my naming system for the music is pretty clear, I can’t imagine needing to take advantage of Evernote’s search functions.

So today is “Packing Day.” I will use it to set up a concrete plan for how I’ll handle each of the upcoming “Unpacking” days and to make a big dent in the clothes I no longer wear.


21 Days of Minimalism: Day 1

How To Make A Damn Decision


I gave a good amount of thought to my “musts” today. Here’s the new list:

  • I must spend money wisely
  • I must pray and meditate each day
  • I must exercise at least three times a week
  • I must eat healthy foods at every meal
  • I must be creative every day
  • I must be of service to others every day
  • I must grow as a person every day
  • I must be grateful every day
  • I must live in the moment

I noticed that some of my musts in the original list read like negative affirmations, so  things like “I must improve my diet” became “I must eat healthy foods.” I kept that spirit in mind with the others. I already have a practice of writing a gratitude list every morning, but this makes me want to think more carefully about the list each day, and do it more mindfully.

There are a couple of the future tasks like getting rid of my TV that I am already balking at. Some of those tasks may get shifted into something I find more manageable. I already know that I am going to do my own take on packing day. I don’t have a space to stack boxes, nor do I have boxes. I am thinking that day will be a massive clean out of my closet and the cabinet where I keep clothes and linens. There’s a bunch in there that can go.

Finally, I spent about 45 minutes scanning music into the computer as well as some handwritten notes I took while working on “Five Tasks Of Grief.”

This feels good.

21 Days of Minimalism – Intro

Last month, inspired by author and blogger Jamie Todd Rubin‘s Going Paperless series, I set myself the goal of  spending 10 minutes a day scanning paperwork into Evernote. My results were less than perfect, I was out of town for a couple of weekends playing for Sandra Bernhard, and then my life got consumed with rehearsing and creating string parts for my performance last week. Still, I made some real progress scanning in a ton of paperwork and sheet music. I got rid of a stack of notes from my guitar teacher that are now easily accessible (and searchable!) in Evernote, and TONS of sheet music now sits out of sight in Dropbox instead of on my shelf.  I made a couple of posts on Google+ about my process.

I am going to continue with 10 minutes a day of paperlessness, but I have decided to give myself another challenge that seems to be in the same spirit — I’ll be following the minimalists 21-Day Journey into Minimalism. I have been a fan of their writing for quite some time, so this feels like a good one for me. I think for some people, my life may appear to be fairly minimalist. I live in a 325 square foot apartment, don’t own a car and I really don’t own that many things. Still, I find myself perpetually distracted from what I feel are my core goals as an artist. If writing and performing are the things that bring me the most joy and fulfillment in my life, it follows that I should make them my primary focus and begin to strip away the things that prevent me from attaining that joy. I think this will help me restructure how I think about my finances and my fitness as well.

I’m aiming to write reflections about each day in the evening before I go to bed, but knowing that the morning is a much more productive time for me, I may switch to writing in the morning about  the previous day. We’ll see! Also, I’m out of town a couple more days this month with Sandra, so I will probably put the challenge on hold for those days and pick up where I left off when I return.

Today’s task is to make a list of musts. I made this list a few weeks ago, but I am going to sit with it today and think about exactly how to word each item.  Here’s where the list stands now:

  • I must spend money wisely
  • I must pray and meditate each day
  • I must exercise three times a week
  • I must improve my diet
  • I must be creative every day
  • I must be of service to others

Tonight or tomorrow morning I’ll start the first of the 21 posts and we’ll see how the list changes.

Anyone care to join me in this challenge? I’d love to have someone to compare notes with!