I’m working on living with less. At present, I am clearing some clutter so I can focus on things that matter. Clothes, bags and books are items of which I have more than enough.
I usually wear the same items of clothing or use the same bags over and over again, until I get tired of them. As for books, I hardly ever picked up the same ones more than once.
I realise too that I have a tendency of doing things for “just in case.” I sometimes buy things out of concern that I may one day need it. I have the same attitude when it comes to packing for holidays. So much so I always end up with clothes I never wear.
When I was away for a month recently, I discovered that I really do not need much to be comfortable. In fact my life is a lot simpler when I have less things to worry about. Making decision becomes a lot simpler too when I have lesser options.
Shopping can be fun. However, the danger when things go on sale is that it’s easy to get carried away and end up buying more than we really need. Now, getting rid of excess items is where the challenge lies. Unless off course, we just throw everything in the garbage bin.
In my experiences, finding new homes for items I no longer want is quite daunting. Recyclable items and items which are in good conditions are easier to deal with. But not those that aren’t.
I admire people who are creative at upcycling. Even more exciting are artists who recycle items or trash into art pieces. I’ve seen an artist recycled Vitagen and Yakult bottles into lampshades, Milo aluminium tins into purses and handbags, computer keys into funky rings and the list goes on. This inspires me greatly.
As I am not a very artistic person, I’ve only gone as far as making art with my kids using things like boxes and bottle caps at home. I collect the items, my kids make the art.
The Internet has also made it easier for us (kids and I) to Google or YouTube for ideas.
A few friends and I, in our effort to share what we have and to save some cash, recently started an online library to share books and board games. A few of us plan to get together for board game nights once a month. We decided to put our books to good use instead of letting them sit on the shelves collecting dust. Books I think become more meaningful when we share.
Do check this site out for interesting ideas on free and fantastic libraries. There are books on bikes, tandem poetry readers and seed libraries which provide healthy seeds and garden education for free. Maybe this would inspire more people to start libraries in their communities. By the way these great projects receive funding too.
Some people I know also sell their pre-loved books so that others can enjoy them at reduced prices. You can search for some of the groups on social networks. All these things have been possible because of the Internet.
I am also very grateful for inventions like ebooks and kindles, because it reduces the need for paper and makes carrying book around a lot lighter. Especially when you have kids who love reading. On top of that you can also borrow books from the kindle library for free.
Another advantage of using kindles is my kids and I can highlight the words we do not understand and the dictionary pop ups to provide the meanings. Sometimes, my children and I read the same despite being in different places.
The internet and social networks have definitely brought more like-minded people together to share their interests in ways that weren’t possible before. Many groups have mushroomed connecting users and enabling them to come up with all kinds of activities, From sharing (physical items or just ideas) to swapping and trading/selling.
A friend once started a movie group which later developed into a DVD exchange group too. Another started a raw food movement where they do group buys with members taking turns to buy fresh fruits and vegs and distribute them others. It saves time, petrol, toll, and money.
I think if we know how to work technology to our advantage it can help us to simplify our lives so we can focus on creating more meaningful experiences.
My goal now is to simplify my life and make space for more meaningful stuff like conversation, laughter, new experiences, good food and friendships. I am letting go of things and thoughts which have been weighing me down. I want to travel light in this life.> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own