Can You Get Rid of 3,650 Things This Year?

JUNK
JUNK (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

I’m an aspiring minimalist, so when I caught this article on Boulder’s Daily Camera about a woman whose goal was to get rid of 3,650 items in the next year, I twittered with excitement. I have big dreams about helping people learn that reducing their stuff, even in this modern lifestyle, is the most freeing experience.

About a year ago, I shared my ideas about minimalism with a friend while sitting at Canon Mine Coffee shop. He told me, quite pointedly, that while my dream was a nice one, it was impossible. He even shook his head when he said it. I love his honesty.

I’m not too naïve to believe that I can change the world overnight, or ever change the world single-handedly, (even though it’s so fun to think about), but that he told me it won’t happen, at all, made me sit up a little straighter with determination. I’m pretty sure he just thought I had to pee. Which I did. But I digress.

I have a way to go in my dreams, so coming across this article about another woman with similar dreams was just plain awesome! It’s a sign that I’m reading my spiritual compass right.

Reducing the stuff we have is a battle we are all trying to win in one way or another. Like Vivienne Palmer, in this article, I too experienced a place in time that brought my possessions down to a car full of clothes, a computer and various odds and ends. While I didn’t lose everything, and mine was a choice I had to make, it felt like I’d lost everything.

But I learned a lot about stuff and what I actually need to survive and be happy. It’s not as much as Westerners believe, not even close.

It’s a great experience for any person that has a heart for social or environmental change because you really get what’s important at an experiential level. You also tend to learn gratitude for things when you do have them. And seriously, cleaning my home is never an issue like it was in my dusty, cluttered past. I will never live in a large house again!

My dream is to do all I can to help push this idea of reducing stuff because of what a beautiful effect it has on a person’s life and the planet. People talk about living those good old days in high school or college, or how refreshing childhood was, but the thing they often forget is that we didn’t have very much stuff back then. We didn’t have a lot to worry about. We had time for what we loved and who we loved.

Now we are big kids that love people, animals and the environment. But who’s got time for that when you’re drowning in a sea of stuff?

I whole-heartedly urge you to read about Vivienne and try your own project at home. Expect to fail a few times, and expect to get over it. We’re all on a path. But trust me, it’s really worth the trouble of figuring out how you’re gonna dig in and do it. In all honesty, it took me four years and a lot of experiences to finally break me down. But those are some of the most vivid memories I have.

At one point, I put a large amount of my stuff out on the corner of the street and just gave it away. It was decent stuff too, not trash items disguised as junk. People in need showed up and I had a particular woman walk over to me, look me straight in the eyes and say, “Thank you.” I still ride on that emotion several years later. The good that comes from reducing never ends. Its part of being in the flow of life, to let things come in while you need them, and let them go back out when you don’t. Its breathing in deep, and exhaling consciously.

So, find role-models like Vivienne and other minimalists or even some certain millionaires who are penny-pinching and material-meticulous enthusiasts. Start reading about them and let them influence your mind for a while. Pretty soon you’ll get the courage to move in this direction with us, if you aren’t already.

Vivienne gave me an inspiring idea that I never thought of before. After my experience with ‘drastic stuff reduction’, it was easy and still is easy for me to let go of things that I don’t need. The hard part for me is sentimental items or the projects I never complete. She has a perfect solution for that, which I’m going to try. Maybe I can post my results.

I hope you enjoy her story as much as I did. Perhaps one day you’ll be inspired enough to take up a project of your own that incorporates reducing consumerism and pollution for our lovely beautiful planet. You’ll amaze people with your triumphs, inspire others by your conviction, and smile daily in your life of freedom after you’ve cut those binds that tie you. That’s how I felt about  Vivienne anyway.

In the meantime, if you’re already a minimalist, or an aspiring minimalist, do you have ideas you could share? I’d really love to hear them!

Love and Peace

Websites You Might Enjoy:

The Minimalists

Zen Habits

Ecological Footprint

And a video about stuff!

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3 thoughts on “Can You Get Rid of 3,650 Things This Year?”

  1. Absolutely love this article. I’m having a “mostly free stuff auction” at my house monthly. Just had the first one last month and gave away two huge bins worth of stuff. Everyone left with something they wanted, and I made over $100 in cash for the effort. It was excellent all around.

    1. Thank you for reading it. I love hearing about how others are finding freedom from stuff. Its such an exhilarating feeling to be the one giving, to be the one receiving, to tell the stories and to hear them. I just goes on forever. I love that! 🙂

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