One of the challenges on my Life Ticket is to own less than 300 things because I want to have a more simple lifestyle.
I thought it was about time I looked into at least working towards this goal.
Why simple living?
In a world surrounded by an accumulation of technology, mass media and over crowded places, it all starts to feel a bit loud. There is so much noise and distraction all around me that the only way to get a break is to reverse the growing trend, and do things differently. Instead of buying more, buying less. Instead of noise, quiet. Instead of speeding up, slowing down.
I’ve already started this idea in many parts of my life. For instance I only focus on three main jobs a day. I try very hard to focus only on those jobs and not get distracted. I have also tried to limit my internet time, which is easier when you’ve got more outside to be keeping you busy.
One of my highest priorities is to become as self-sufficient, in the garden, as possible and feel connected to the earth while living a more healthy life.
On the spending front it’s all slightly harder. Supermarkets, clothes shops and the giant on-line retailers are deliberately designed and marketed to be the most efficient, cost effect and easiest places to buy stuff, lots of it.
In this area of consumerism minimalism is a habit I’d like to adopt.
I like minimalism in the home but it’s hard to achieve if I keep buying things. To stop buying things I need to see what I’ve already got in my life and become more conscious of them.
What does 300 things look like?
I was deliberately vague when I wrote the challenge on my list because I didn’t know what or how I’d be cutting down to 300 things. However I’ve done some thinking over this and decided on the following:
The 300 things will be mine, personally. That means I can’t cut out or down anything that we use as a household. Cooking pots, bathroom cleaner, curtains, computers and other material objects we use as a family are not included in the material shift.
It doesn’t include any items in the garden, the car (which I don’t drive anyway) or the outside buildings. It also doesn’t include my work items either (obviously).
It’s just my personal stuff. Books, clothes, jewellery personal gadgets and crap only I like to buy.
On the outset 300 things looks a pretty reasonable figure to start with. Until I realised I had 93 pairs of socks. Yes just socks, 93 pairs of them. That’s 31% of the my desired items. Who needs 93 pairs of socks? I don’t and yet there I am moaning like hell when I find my socks spewing all over my wardrobe because I have so many of them.
Starting block – Inventory
To get started in my quest I need to know exactly what I do have to be able to start making some reductions. In the end the list was broken down into the following categories:
- Personal grooming products
- Other personal gadgets/stationary
Total Items:- Over 1,000!
It’s quite astounding and rather morbid to think in my 34 years what I’ve collected, been gifted with and saved along the way.
I really believed I didn’t possessed that much as an individual, but over the yrs my stuff has been building up, without perhaps me realising it.
The rather important thing with all this is – do I use all this stuff? No. Do I make good use of it? No. Do I even regard it on a daily/weekly basis? No. So clearly I don’t need it all.
The real challenge then is getting over that hump that says you’ve got memories, feelings, etc attached to it all.
If I think logically about this though, just because an object is removed from my life does not mean the memories go with it. The stuff is just a trigger for those memories.
To make the reduction slightly easier to deal with I shall evaluate all the items into the following categories:
- Must Keep
- Borderline Keep
- Get rid, no reason to Keep
300, as a figure may well be too little, or too much. As an analyst its easy to fall into the numbers game but this is ultimately more about cutting back until I feel more comfortable with the items I do own and take careful considerations before I buy more in future.
I’ll let you know over the coming weeks how this challenge goes.
If you’re doing something similar, or indeed have completed a 300 challenge yourself then please get in touch. I’d love to know how easy/hard it was for you.