A couple years ago I became very intrigued with the concept of minimalism and simplicity. I read blog after blog by people who were changing their lives in drastic ways and loving the freedom that comes with living with less.
Some of these people were very extreme and now own nothing that won’t fit in their backpack. Others were more focused on living debt free and simplifying was just a means to this goal. No matter what the reason or the outcome, all of these people are very interesting and the lessons learned are applicable to everyone.
While I have no real desire to sell all my possessions and live out of a backpack, I do appreciate the benefits to living with less and avoiding the constant feeling of need that is created when society focuses so strongly on consumerism. Simplifying, and being grateful for all you have, is beneficial to your sanity, to your wallet, to the earth…the list goes on.
I am not a hoarder, I don’t feel I have nearly as much stuff as many people I know, but I still felt the need for less. So for the last couple of years I have been mindful of my possessions. I have made an effort to shop less and donate more. I started by going room by room, donating items that I don’t really like or use. I boxed up mismatched glasses, utensils and cookware I never use. I gave away tchotchkes and decorations that I was storing, I went through my wardrobe and easily got rid of ¼ of my clothes. And, after several trips to the Volunteer of America and a large pile of stuff picked up by the Vietnam Vets, you would still not look around my house and think it looks sparse. I still have so much stuff, it’s almost ridiculous.
I did note after the first year of trying to decrease my stuff, that the energy of my home just felt better. I noticed a more serene feeling as the clutter chaos decreased. I found that the fewer clothes I own, the better I dress…because I only have clothes I love. All this was great, but I wanted to do more. Last January, I made a New Year’s Resolution to get rid of 1 thing a day. I started off with gusto, and did this until the end of March, when life got busy and I just forgot about it. However, that is still 90 things I got rid of.
As yet another new year approaches I am again reminded of how good it feels to have less. On December 1, I started a minimalist challenge. On Dec 1st, I got rid of 1 thing; on Dec 2nd I got rid of 2, and so on. I am a little behind...today is the 27th and I’m still working on day 22….but that means I removed 231 things from my house and the month isn’t even over yet. Is it noticeable? Not in the way you might think. My house is still full…you would still not walk in and say "where are this woman’s possessions?", because I still have so much more than I need. I still have so many other things I could get rid of…things that I could donate to someone that needs them or that would get more use out of them.
You might ask what did the 231 things consist of? I didn’t keep a list of every item, but I can tell you that I donated some holiday decorations. I gave away about 40-50 DVDs I’ll never watch. I again went through my wardrobe and gave away 30 items. I cleaned out my underwear drawer. I gave away a big box of cookbooks I never use and a pile of magazines that I had been saving. Again, I found some glasses and household decorations I don’t need and I gave them away.
My goal for 2014 is to continue to rid my house of everything that I don’t use or love. In the end, I desire to have a home that is my spiritual oasis…not my storage facility.
I also wanted to mention, that as I move toward my goal of simplification, I do so with a feeling of gratitude...that I live in a country with such abundance that too much stuff can actually be a problem. I am blessed with such abundance and have an opportunity to choose less, and to maybe help others as I do so.
If you are interested in simplifying your life, here are a few blogs that I highly recommend….
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.