A few months ago, I engaged in an internet meme in which my Plurk followers and friends prompted me to take pictures of an object (or a collection thereof), or a part of my room. I don’t have many followers, and so I collected a grand total of five prompts, asking me for:
- my wardrobe,
- my plushie collection,
- my makeup collection,
- my desk; and
- my notebook and pen collection.
I expected to take pictures and cobble the post together in about an hour or so. Twelve hours later, and practically forgetting to eat, I ended up with almost fifty pictures and two large blog posts (aptly entitled My bedroom, and Makeup). While I could easily use #swag or #blessed, a seed of a different thought was planted in my mind.
I just have way too much crap.
Now, this isn’t a manifesto decrying the culture of consumerism (or is it?) and how companies are inventing needs just to sell us crap we don’t need (ahem), nor is it a jab against hoarders (okay, not a jab, but something a bit more subtle like, you should ask for help). This isn’t me picking up my virtual megaphone calling for a revolution — just do your thing, and I won’t love you any less. This is me creating a place to breathe, and needing to focus on the things that I deem important, the top three being:
- Relationships (with God, with my loved ones)
- Mental and physical health
(You will notice that work doesn’t enter in there, and neither does finances — but they are in the fifth and sixth positions respectively, with learning in fourth. I will come about to discussing how I feel about these as I go along this series of blog posts.)
My drive to further simplify my life was triggered by A Guide to Living with Less by Careese Rials, and helped along by Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life by Leo Babauta. In passing, I’d like to recommend these articles to those who’d like to give simplicity a try. Keep in mind that living a simple life and living with less does not mean living with nothing — it only means keeping what’s important, and having the time and space to enjoy those things important to you.
Almost everyone already knows these basic rules when it comes to getting rid of things:
- When it doesn’t contribute to the top three or top five things you find important, get rid of it.
- When you haven’t touched it in six months to one year (nightmare mode: three months), get rid of it.
- When you’ve forgotten about it (those “Oh! I didn’t know I had this!” moments?), get rid of it.
— and when I say “get rid of”, it covers selling, giving away, or throwing away.
While I’m (thankfully) not at the level of obsessive hoarding, traveling the road down simplicity, I found, is much more than just holding a garage sale or a giveaway bonanza. It’s genuine change coming from within — your environment reflecting who you are as a person and what values you stand for. That last bit probably made you go “Duh!“, but any change you wish to undertake requires transformation; and transformation is a process and requires any individual to undergo a lot of challenges for that change to happen and become a habit.
I will therefore be sharing, through a series of three blog posts in the upcoming weeks, the aspects of my life that I have started to whittle down, and the challenges and victories I have encountered in the process. I hope that you’ll stick around and see if taking the road down to a simpler life (if you’re not already in it!) might just be something for you.