Took a nap today (which is significant because I can never take naps), and that made me wide awake and got me thinking, so I wrote a quick post about minimalism…
I watched yet another TED talk (I really like these talks because they are short, cover a wide range of topics, and can be pretty informative. I even watch some that I think I may disagree with – just to hear different perspectives on issues/ideas etc.).
These guys are from a blog called The Minimalists… I only briefly got to look at their website, but they have some interesting suggestions/tips. Anyways, I thought their talk about how we let the “stuff” we own pretty much control us at times is spot-on. It’s easy to feel trapped by what we own – as if we can’t separate ourselves from our material items. You may feel trapped when you are moving/need to downsize yet you can’t get yourself to part with simple items (like that purse you never use, those knickknacks you have but can’t even remember how you got them) that you haven’t used in days, months, or even years. Or your feeling of connection with material items may play out differently. Either way, when we let “things” become an obsession (that we are aware of or not even aware of), our relationships with ourselves and others can become strained. Sounds kinda crazy, but it’s definitely possible.
Try taking a look at what you have at home. How would it make you feel if you donated or threw that “thing” out? Do you have an emotional connection to that particular item?
I remember as a child thinking of all the items I would quickly grab if a fire broke out in my house. Knowing that taking the time, even just a few seconds, to grab stuff is exactly what you are not supposed to do, I still made a mental list of some things I would take, which at the time consisted mostly of my favorite stuffed animals. I’ve overcome the grab-the-stuffed-animals-and-run phase, but I use that time to think about what I own now. When analyzing what stuff I should keep or donate/throw out, I think about what items, if most of my stuff was burned in that hypothetical fire, would I find most valuable. My new perspective is that I actually am fine without around 95% of the stuff I own. Which is great because…
Spontaneous travel excites me. And spontaneous travel usually coincides with quick packing and departing of a place as well as having limited belongings. I’ll find myself asking what are the essentials that I need to pack for this trip, which is typically basic clothes and toiletries – not much else is needed. In my first semester of college, I’ll always remember what one of my professors said about materialism. He asked us how many shirts do we really need? The answer was seven, if we had one for each day. And we could really survive without seven. While on a one-month volunteering stint in Costa Rica, I packed a” backpacking backpack” with clothes, toiletries, 2 books, 1 journal, and 1 notebook. Having so little ended up being perfect. I was able to enjoy more time with my host family, new friends, and embracing life in a foreign country. Side note: If you are curious to know more about my time in Costa Rica, I’ll be posting the first of a set of travel guides next week, plus some advice and “what I learned” posts as well!
We don’t need to accumulate masses of material goods in order to survive. We don’t need to feel attached to everything we own either. Maybe those clothes you have piled in your closet could be donated to your local shelter or church . Maybe those stacks of art supplies you don’t use could benefit a school near you or even abroad. You could end up blessing someone else with what you have. Just a little something to think about!