In anticipation of my downsizing move in two weeks, I decided to clean out my apartment and give some stuff to Goodwill. My LORD, I got rid of so much crap! I didn’t realize how much stuff I’ve had for years, moving from apartment to apartment, that I never use. I think of myself as somewhat of a minimalist anyway, but now I’m starting to see the benefits of only owning what you absolutely use and need. I took a hard look around at what I had used over the past few weeks and if anything didn’t stack up, I put it in the donate pile. I took an entire car load of old garmet bags, gym bags, clothes, shoes, trinkets, and books. It felt phenomenal. There is something about knowing you aren’t living with a bunch of waste that is really freeing.
Living on a tight budget forces you to examine a lot about how you live your life. Today, as I was throwing out my clothes I wondered why I had paid so much money for items that I wouldn’t even want in a year. At the time I bought them I thought I would be so happy if I had that bag or pair of jeans, but now that seems ridiculous. Things do not make people happy!
This entire process of downsizing has made me think hard about how much our society values things. Over the last few years I’ve worked on not bringing things into my home that I don’t need or don’t hold any value. I have a strict 1 in 1 out policy; every time I bring something in, I take something out to donate. At least once every 6 months I do a mass examination of everything I own and try to donate as much as I can. Our country is built on a foundation of consumers. Everywhere you look there’s an ad to go buy something, your friend is selling something on Facebook, or there’s a line out the door at the apple store because the new iphone came out. Have you ever asked yourself why you care so much? Who cares about that Macy’s sale where you’ll spend a ton on things you’ll never wear again. Now I just look at things and think, “how long before that ends up in my donate bin? One month? Six?”
If you haven’t heard of The Minimalists http://www.theminimalists.com/, I encourage you to check out their site. They’ve gained a really powerful following of people who are anti-consumerism and want to live a simple purposeful life. They encourage everyone to examine what items truly bring them joy and to get rid of things that don’t. This philosophy goes hand-in-hand with downsizing to pay off debt and taking a hard look at what you spend your money on and refocusing that thinking. Give The Minimalists a look! They also have a documentary on Netflix which is really great. I also love that the tiny house community is gaining such a following. I love the show on HGTV! I encourage you to take a hard look around at the things you own while you’re on your debt free journey and do some self exploration about what is truly important to you; then go take a bag to Goodwill!