I came across these three tips on living with less via the NY Times Bucks blog post, You Probably Have Too Much Stuff.
1. Fewer choices are freeing.
2. If you have fewer things, make them good.
3. Sometimes you will not be prepared…and it’s okay.
I particularly like this quote regarding number three, which reminds me of the Just In Case syndrome I’ve mentioned in previous posts:
Americans in particular like to be prepared for the worst-case-scenario, having separate cookie cutters for Christmas and Halloween. We seldom consider how negligible the consequences are when we run out of something or are unprepared. Nor do we consider how high the consequences are for being over-prepared: creating more money, space, upkeep and mental clutter.
I’ve been working toward applying these basic principles to my life this year, through my Love List goal Less in 2012. So far, we’ve had two garage sales and donated a large quantity of “stuff” to charity. There is a lot more to do, however.
Carl Richards, in the Bucks blog post I link to above, recommends these questions when looking at your stuff:
- Why exactly do you own what you own?
- What could you get rid of and not miss?
- Do I really still need that?
- What is it costing me to own that?
I’d go even farther, by asking yourself these questions before you even get to that point – when you want to buy things:
- Do I really need this?
- If I do buy this, will it last? Is it high quality?
- If I end up not needing it any longer, what is the re-sale value? If it's not sellable, would a charity take it? If not, what kind of impact does throwing it out have on the environment?
I’m pretty confident these three questions will help you buy quality, needed things and have a minimal impact on the environment. None of these questions will work, though, if you aren’t completely honest with yourself.
Are you working toward a more minimalist lifestyle? If so, share your experience in the comments.