The one magical word driving economies to flourish, and the lives of common folk into ruin.
In our competitive consumerist society, do we ever really have enough stuff? One of my personal missions of late, has been to answer this question with regards to my environment, belongings and mindset.
A complicated question at best.
What if the idea of minimalism and prudent purchasing were to become widely adopted?
Would this be a good thing?
Shops would sell less, our friends and neighbors would be out of jobs and our investments would suffer. In short , the world economy would get worse.
Lately, I see more media mentions about green living, tiny houses, sustainability and the like. I think this is a great thing, a nice break from hyped infomercials and unrealistic commercials. However, the vast majority of the population will continue to spend their way into insurmountable debt, mental clutter and shiny object chasing. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
I’m far from being an expert economist, yet I realize a delicate balance of production and consumption needs to perpetuate itself in order for the “system” to maintain. Many things need to run as they are to evade societal collapse, yet a growing number of brave souls are venturing to go against the grain. Choosing to own less, live more and actually take a breath from the roller coaster of consumption, some of us are starting to resemble thoughtful, creative humans again.
- I work hard. Why shouldn’t I have it?
- But I need this new *shiny item* because…. (insert mental justification).
- Once I have this, my fuzzy pink marbles collection will be complete.
I’ve been there, you’ve been there, we all have.
The pressure from an endless barrage of advertising, social pressure and family makes it difficult to realize there is another way, perhaps a better way, for those ready to tread the path.
Shall this primeval secret which hath been coveted in secrecy finally be revealed?
The less stuff you buy, the less time you’ll spend doing a job you hate.
Less time spent maintaining your possessions = time for the things you’ve always wanted to do. Period.
Do you really need those two extra bedrooms to store your excess stuff, and the high mortgage to go with it? If you downsized your shelter to the “right” size, would the money saved allow your dream vacation?
Buying stuff is an emotional decision, not a logical one. (OK, no big secret here).
When you dig deeper into the root causes of emotional purchasing, they often boil down to a fear of loss, promise of a better life, ego gratification and externalization or a temporary dose of Soma to quell boredom. Or even worse – because it’s what everyone else does.
There is nothing unhealthy about making smart purchases within relation to their usefulness, however are 50 pairs of shoes on credit really necessary?
While my one-bedroom apartment life seems fairly humble, the amount of time traded for dollars just doesn’t add up. Over the years I’ve made a conscious effort to shed excess possessions and live simpler. As the dream and taste of a more flexible life start creeping in, stuff I swore I’d never get rid of, have been marched promptly out the door, with a one way ticket, and it feels so much better.
As I look around lately I realize, almost everything is replaceable.
As an experiment, I’m working toward seeing how much less I can live with, making the shift toward frequent traveling more attainable. I am inspired by others posting about the 100 things they own, 100 things they DON’T own , or even the 50 things owned and 51 things owned.
I can only image the amount of physical and mental clutter eradicated by doing this. As each item moves out of my life, the more energy I feel and clearer things become.
Here is the list of recent progress made to minimize possessions and expenses.
– Sold a huge professional chef cookbook collection.
– Ditched a ton of office supplies, including my desk.
– Scanned important old photos and documents
– Old magazines , donated.
– Scanned all Cd’s to MP3 and gave them away.
– Threw out DVD cases from a towering monstrosity.
– Transferred rare VHS to DVD, gave away the rest.
– Professional Chef knife collection, gave away.
– Donated old books.
– Sold trade show equipment.
– Donated old clothes.
– Increased my regular income by 40%.
– Decreased mobile phone bill 50%.
– Decreased car insurance bill 33%.
– Cancelled some monthly software subscriptions.
Have YOU gotten rid of lately? Love to hear your comments…
****UPDATE JANUARY 2015****
I’ve since decided to quit my job and travel the world! As a result, I’ve gotten rid of all my furniture and most stuff. I only kept my paid off car (parked at a friend’s house), clothes, a 50 liter backpack and Djembe drum. These few decorative items and art in the shown photo are all I own. I used Craigslist mostly, and donated the rest.