Living Simply-Could You Do It?
Even though I think I am the kind of person who could never really let go of many personal possessions, whenever I move out of an apartment or leave school at the end of a semester, I am reminded that there is a part of me that feels great satisfaction in letting go of the things that have little meaning. It’s as if I spend my life accumulating things that I think I will need and just hoping to use all the things I’ve collected. Who really needs ten pairs of glow in the dark socks? Or four battery operated flashlights? I only wear 30 to 40 percent of the clothing I own. Sometimes having too many options just feels too overwhelming for me! The moment of saying goodbye to something is painful and hard. But then, once it’s gone, I’m instantly free from it; I feel light and flexible. Euphoric, even. What if shedding old weight could free you to live more productively, efficiently, and meaningfully?
“Simple living” is a lifestyle choice where people consciously choose to minimize their consumption of their material possessions. People choose simple living for a variety of reasons, including: health, money, quality time with family and friends, social justice, conservation, stress reduction, personal taste, and spirituality. When my mother passed away last year I had to go to from Maryland to Florida get her possessions out of her old storage unit. Since shipping big items through any mail carrier is expensive, I decided to limit myself to two extra suitcases to fill with photos and important items and then let go the rest. This choice was surprising since I generally hold onto my stuff. But since learning about simple living and detachment from possessions, I decided to practice “letting go”. It took a lot of courage to get rid of my mother’s furniture, paintings, clothes, and knick-knacks but I realized after that experience that material possessions don't really matter in the end. What matters is taking the few possessions that meant the most to me—the ones that truly remind me of the people I love. There is no need for us to keep everything we are attached to.
In reading more about living simply, I realized that it can come with incredible benefits: freeing you up to be flexible in your work life by having the space to work, think, and create. Having a function for everything in an office can also help you stay more organized. It can help you during traveling, with your money, with your time, with your energy, and it can help you be more intentional with your life. In the Living Simply Manifesto by Leo Babauta, he states that living simply means “getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value.”
Sounds easy enough, right? Wrongo! It is actually harder than you think. People aren’t “hoarders” for no reason. You don’t have that box of junk in your closet “just because.” It is hard to let go of things because we tend to place meaning on every object we own. But why not try living more simply now? What if you tried to be intentional about everything you had and knew why you had it? Here are 72 ideas to simplify your life: http://zenhabits.net/simple-living-manifesto-72-ideas-to-simplify-your-life. I challenge you to try at least 5 of these practices for the next month and document the experience. I will do it too. At the end of the month we will post some of our reader’s experiences and yours could end up on ifiiknew.org