Once upon a time my possessions were neatly displayed on my dresser, my desk, my bookshelves. My, oh my! My life was about me, what I owned and what I cared for. I collected things because of the culture that I was brought up in. I valued items with reckless abandon because I saw others doing exactly the same, until one day I didn’t.
It was a process of letting go and it didn’t happen from one day to the next. A leap from Seattle to Hungary was the catalyst for major change. Shipping 20 boxes and a couple of trunks with what we thought to be our most treasured belongings was actually our first glimpse into minimalism.
We arrived to the countryside long before our “stuff” did, and then those many boxes sat in storage for another 4 months before we moved out to our homestead. We did not miss a thing in those many months detached from our possessions. What my husband and I had carried on our backs was nearly enough.
However when it came time to open up some of those boxes we did take a simple pleasure in rediscovering our ceramic bowls, stainless steel pots and cast iron frying pan – these are essential items for us since we cook every meal at home. Some herb identification books have proved invaluable as we took the courage to relearn, identify and forage for edible plants from the wild. Much of the rest was just stuff.
Emotional attachments can be broken. Recognize the needs, evaluate the wants and decide where each and every item fits.
Clutter will accumulate if you let too much into your suitcase, or too much into your life. Right now, chances are that you already have too much, definitely more than you need.
Learn to think outside of conventional systems to travel lightly through life:
You can, in fact, wear the same thing two days in a row, even more, provided that you stay naturally clean. Society may deem it unacceptable, but that is mostly from a consumer stance. Fabrics can last decades while “styles” are constantly changing. A slow, artful and simple solution is to design your own handcrafted wardrobe with compostable materials that keeps sustainability in mind. Keep to the timeless flair and you can replace your wardrobe as it wears out.
Think beyond your wardrobe and minimize all possessions. Give away your duplicates (or excesses) to those in need. Share. Borrow. Don’t pack your bag, or life, so heavy that you need to drag it behind you on squeaky plastic wheels.
Stop wanting more than necessary to live a personally fulfilling life. What are the basics for your survival? For your enjoyment? Keep in mind that things/objects/stuff make us happy temporarily, but life with lasting amusement includes that of:
- like-minded community, however small
- lasting friendships
- honest relationships
- time to create
- time for play
- finding yourself in nature
- exploring the world slowly
Reduce your use of technology. It isn’t necessary, nor is it healthy to live in a virtually connected world all day. If it takes imposing limitations of your time consumed online – then do it! Don’t distance yourself from the time spent with family and friends in favor of screen time. It almost goes without saying that if you get rid of your television you will have much more time to learn, experience and do the things that you really love.
When you begin your consumer elimination diet you will find there are many things you can live without. Those “trace mineral” deficiencies you discover as you simplify, can be replenished by changing your habits and adopting a healthier attitude of balance in all aspects of life.
Unschool your thoughts, undo the ingrained consumer messages of buying and wasting, most of all unbrand your life, so you can live ecologically, mindfully, with the consciousness of a sustained future under foot.
Travel lightly through life, admire the unconventionality of it all and tell us in the comments below what your biggest challenges in embracing a simple life are.
Need assistance on your journey? We started exactly where most of you are and we are here to help!
By commenting below you are eligible to win a package from our Sustainable Life Design Services: 2 weeks of intense communication valued at $120.
We will choose the winner at random, on Saturday the 12th of April (evening hours) and the online consultation will take place beginning the following Monday, from April 14th-27th.
Take action, comment and share!
Update: and the winner is Lindsay!