Normally I reserve this blog space just to things which pertain to writing, more specifically mine. However, as I've been working on some things lately, I've come across a rather interesting concept that was presented to me by several very interesting sites which I have a lot of respect for. Namely, the Tiny House Blog (they focus on living frugally, both in your possessions, and in your living space), and the treehugger blog (they focus on eco-living).
These two sites focus on a new trend in this world. Living an eco-friendly, possessions lite lifestyle. Years ago I would have thought them insane. However, after reading their posts and researching some of their ideas, I've actually changed my mind. The concepts they have are indeed radical, but it's not the bad kind of radical. It's actually a very good kind. So why live lite? Well, for one you spend less money, because you only buy the things that are necessary.
Two, with a smaller living space you're actually forced to be frugal with all your buying. That leads to less clutter, especially if you don't have anywhere to store the excess stuff. Three, you have less things that detract from the precious few hours you have every day, allowing you more time to relax, and enjoy life. The more you have, the more time you spend taking care of those items, or using them in order to justify having them.
Four, you have less stress. Believe it or not, the less things you have, the less stress you have. It's an odd though, I know, but it's true. The more I've gotten rid of and downsized in my life, the happier and more peaceful I've become. I don't have the latest car, or the latest computer. I don't have a smart phone or a huge home entertainment center. In fact, I don't even own a gaming console. And surprisingly, I'm actually very happy about that.
My mom went through exactly the same experience when she too began downsizing the possessions she had. You could actually see the stress melting away from her as she slowly downsized the amount of stuff she owned. But she's not the only one. I've seen countless others experience the same freedom that's come with having less possessions. And no, this is not some self help pitch. It's a reality check. Most people in America own far more than they need.
That's why I'm actually looking forward to reaching a rather exciting goal that the Tiny House Blog brought up not too long back. In fact, it's one that I think quite a few people have been echoing for some time now. And what is that goal? To live on three hundred possessions or less. We're not talking food here. We're talking three hundred or less actual possessions. Things like shoes, clothing, underwear, computers, watches, pots, pans, etc.
I bet that if you took and cataloged everything that was in just your closet alone, you'd have well over 200 items in there! Now before you start panicking, the purpose of the goal is not to make you give up everything and become a monk, or some "give up all your life's possessions" hermit. What it's trying to do is make you take inventory of the things you own, and then minimize your possessions to just the bare essentials. It might actually surprise you to know that for most people, well over 50%-70% of their house is stuff they don't need. For some, that number climbs as high as 90%.
Now it's not something that will be easy. Heck, even I still have issues doing it, and I've been at this for a while. Certainly a lot longer than a few weeks. There's things that I know I still need to downsize, and I end up having to go back to them several times before I finally make the reductions I need to, but I do make them. But the more you get rid of, the better you'll feel.
But when you get rid of them, don't throw them out. Well, if they're something that nobody can use, then by all means chuck them. But if they're a usable item, then either sell them, or give them away to someone who needs them. I'd prefer that people did the latter, as it'll help out others as it helps out you, but if you can't, then by all means sell it, but only do so if it's done at a reasonable price.
And lastly, for all the economics worriers, no, this will not cause the economy to implode. Believe it or not, the less you have, and the more frugal you live, the less bills you have, and thus the more spending money is left over each month. And the greater the disposable income the average household has, the better the economy does. So yeah, living frugally does not hurt the economy. It actually helps it.
So try it out. Give it your best effort to live lean. I think that in the end you will find that you're much happier than you ever could have imagined you would be. :)