9 Days of Green: Simplify

(Day 2 of the ReJAVAnate Bag contest, comment to enter. Don't forget to visit Grant at the Corner Office Blog as well and enjoy your weekend!)

"Simplify, Simplify, Simplify"

It was my mantra a year ago after we had moved into our new home. All of our belongings fit in a 10' deep x 10' tall x 20' wide storage room and yet when we brought everything to the new house we filled the entire house up. It was baffling but we had too much for there to be a spot for everything. So my GF and I did what we have always said that we would eventually do, "Simplify, Simplify, Simplify." Out went what we didn't need, out went what we had too many of, out went the clothes that didn't fit, out went the TV's we didn't need, out went a lot of things. Mind you that these were not trashed but garage sale'd and eventually donated to the thrift stores.

The point though was that we wanted to not have what we really didn't need. You know simplify. For years we collected items for 'that house we would get' and just stored those items away, only to realize that we had way more than what we ever needed.

So, what do we really need in life? When you think about it all we really need is food (and the stuff to prepare and eat it) and a roof over our head (and the stuff to support that). Maybe that is way oversimplifying the idea, but it is a good place to start.

I think it is common in Americana to dream about the stuff you always want when you are young: favorite car or truck, the perfect home theatre, the ultimate bed, the pottery barn living room, the perfect house, etc. Then when we finally find a job and begin earning real money, we try to buy all of those things, which is great for a while. Then you have a child or you just grow up a little and realize, "Hey, it's great that I finally made my 4X4 truck that I dreamed about, but I never drive it, and we really could use a family vehicle." There just isn't anything that is really that important.

My brother who spent years not making much finally completed is training and began making real money, bought a lot of stuff he thought he really wanted. Today, most of it sits unwatched, unused, and gathering dust. He constantly talks about that what he thought mattered just doesn't. He now lives a fairly bohemian life with his family and he truly believes that the only things that are actually important are his family and getting to travel.

After we made the choice to simplify, I can tell you that it is both uplifting and annoying at times. Uplifting because everything has a place, clutter is more easily eliminated, and costs go down because less is bought, maintained, and used. Annoying because you will constantly ask yourself if you really need something and while that is extremely helpful, it can get old. It is almost like religion, when you violate the lifestyle, that guilty pleasure can turn into just plain guilt.

All that being said, no one simplifies completely but utilizing it as a mantra will no doubt save you money and skip that regret that we all get from poor purchasing decisions. It helps too when it is time to make big home decisions like thinking that you need a bigger home when maybe you have too much stuff or when it is time to clear out the garage. It's a big step but I am telling you it can be a freeing feeling when you finally decide to simplify, simplify, simplify.


David Csonka said...

With the recession going on and the looming possibility of being out of a job when my contract expires next year, I've certainly been trying to simplify more lately. This really ends up being an attempt to lower my monthly expenses by simplifying and focusing on what I have to buy on a regular basis to get by.

Things I want, just have to wait till times are a little more secure.

MJ @ Dyslexic Research said...

Dave, I just added your blog to my link list. Just so you know.