As a minimalist, everything around me needs to be functional in some way or it just starts to bug me. So, throughout the year, I periodically take stock of how much stuff I own. It’s a lot; probably more than I need because most of it goes untouched or unused and starts accumulating. Before too long, I’m feeling choked by it all. Why is that one thing so important? Turns out, it’s not. Not by a long shot. And then self-reflection takes over and the decision is made; think like a turtle! Swim through life with all that I need right here, on my back. Simple living defined; take only what you can carry.
As I tour my home and assess all of my belongings, I begin to feel heavy. It’s true what they say about belongings; your stuff has energy! So deciding to purge the unnecessary becomes easy. I move effortlessly from room to room, organizing and categorizing fast. Clothes are tossed that no longer suit or flatter me. Then I move onto the books. Many, no matter how good or enjoyable, I simply will not read again. Out they go. Catchalls or decorative items get the heave-ho if I have not referred to them or lifted them to dust (which is another level of purging altogether). The exercise goes on and the donation boxes fill up fast. Rest assured, these treasures will end up with someone who cherishes them for their own reasons. For me, I’ve enjoyed them while I’ve had them and as I change, so will my need to not keep so much stuff.
I’m not sure what or when this “purge trigger” gets tripped. All I know if that once the excess is trimmed, I feel better. There is a noticeable shift of energy as if the room(s) needed some breathing space of their own. Then my energy and clarity expand. It’s a wonderful way to live– with less! What is it about stuff that gives us the illusion of safety or security? It’s a crazy way to feel good. Purging is the only way to free yourself from the burden of stuff. After all, how much stuff do you really need? Not much. Not by a long shot.
Sure, I live in the real world and still have some extra stuff, but overall I return to the turtle and ask, ‘How much do I really need to keep?’ or ‘If there was a fire, and I had only a few panicked moments to grab the really important stuff but I had to carry it out, how would I do that?’ This exercise keeps me wary of bringing stuff home whenever I see an alleged “deal”. We’re a society of consumers excited about consuming yet at the end of the day, if you are honest with yourself, it all just becomes stuff after the buzz of the buy wears off unless there is a specific use for it and/or you reach for it often. It helps to be really strict with yourself when buying something. Think: less is more!
This process takes some time and only after the excess is trimmed, can the true energy take over. Gone are the distractions and the heaviness. I can breathe again and enjoy only that which truly inspires and uplifts me. What on earth possessed me to fill up my space in the first place? The turtle remains my hero. (Talk about a minimalist!)
SIMPLIFY AND GO RAW!
Photo by Philippe Guillaume
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