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“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” ― Oscar Wilde

Like many, I often think about downsizing. Living in less space and with less stuff would be good for me – and our planet.

The more I study the subject, the more interesting it sounds. I’m told how less can be more, providing me with the benefits of a life in minimalism.

Then I think about what to keep and what to step away from. What would those items be and how would I make the choices?

Many minimalists suggest we should aim to own fewer than 100 things. That’d be hard, I think. The final selections would be very, very painful – and I don’t like pain.

Recognizing I needed professional advice on how to minimize, and with less pain, I asked a new friend if we could have coffee. He’s an interior design professional with an outstanding reputation, so he would know.

Coffee is my favorite kind of meeting and I believe where you meet matters, so I suggested my usual favorite, but Loyd had an even better choice.

He invited me to join him in his minimized home.

Loyd DillonLoyd Dillon lives in a two bedroom condo with his wife, Brenda, and their cat, Willy.

It’s a much smaller space than the large house where they raised their three sons, but it’s what they need now.

The moment the door opened, I knew I had met a friend.

After hellos, Loyd offered the usual tour, saying it would only take a minute and then we could sit down for our coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Though the space was not large, it was magnificent. Every piece of furniture, picture, piece of art or decor had been carefully chosen and displayed in an uncluttered and unique way. This minimized home is now the couple’s refuge and sanctuary, and everything in it reflects their many years together.

Each item had its own love story. I spotted one because of a childhood memory of my own – an old transistor radio.

“How did we decide what to keep and what to let go? That was tough. For us, an item had to have meaning. Monetary value alone was …well, meaningless. I won that little transistor radio in a Kellogg’s coloring contest. It has lasted from elementary school to today. It went on family camping trips. It was our news source during the week-long Hurricane Hugo power outage. And it still works! Books were the hardest for us. 2,000 of them had to go. Most went to Habitat For Humanity, any others to Goodwill. 15 to the rare book room at UNCC, others to the Mint Museum, Two of them — both illustrated and signed by Romare Bearden — are part of a small exhibit on display at the museum’s Randolph Road location until October 1. But … hahah a…we still have another 2,000 books in our small condo.”

They didn’t get down to a hundred, but Brenda and Loyd are doing with less. So paraphrasing Oscar Wilde, “Everything in moderation, including minimalism.” I’m glad Loyd chose his “best spot” for coffee that morning.

Now let’s start our own list of 100 keepers. What would make the list and why? Tell me about something you could never live without? Hint: be sure to include the meaning.

Now look up from your computer screen, I’ll give you a moment to adjust your eyes. Do you see memories or only items chosen to perform a function? That table, the chair, the lamp? Tell me their story. Like Loyd’s choices, it will be the memories, not the value, that will decide their fate.

As always, the conversation starts here.

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran

Epilogue

This CPCC video shows Loyd teaching his interior design class.

I want to sign up, not to learn design but to watch a wonderful teacher in action.