While many of my posts tend toward the philosophical, today I am sharing practical pointers to help guide you toward living large with less stuff. And as I thought about our own journey I focused on three simple steps that moved us toward a life with less: identifying our favorite possessions; processing our excess inventory; and optimizing our space.
The key for us was starting with what we knew we wanted to keep and then eliminating extraneous stuff from there to create additional living space. Once you identify the cream of the crop it helps you to clarify what is worth keeping and what is not. In other words, starting with your “loves” makes getting rid of your “likes” much easier.
As Gretchen Rubin writes in Happier at Home, “Cultivating my possessions, then, wasn’t a simple matter of organization, elimination, or accumulation; it was a matter of engagement. When I first engaged with my possessions, I felt enlivened by them, and when I felt disengaged from them, I felt burdened. My craving for simplicity was provoked not by a profusion of too many loved things, but from a chaos of meaningless possessions.”
Author and adventurer Rolf Potts also advises, “On a basic level, there are three general methods to simplifying your life: stopping expansion, reining in your routine, and reducing clutter.” And fellow minimalist Joshua Becker adds rhyme to his reason: “Throw out the excess, clean up the mess, say no to stress, and live with less.”
So, what does the above photo of me at a ship’s wheel suggest? I like to think of our lives as ships adrift at sea and we steer them in the direction of our heart’s desire. One type of guidance or gauge is how we engage with our possessions. If our homes are in disarray it is very likely an indicator that our lives are also. Yet if we are buoyed by our belongings rather than burdened by them it helps our entire being to better navigate the course of life. Happy downsizing!