Almost a year later from when I started my minimalist journey and I find myself gravitating to a more zen like discipline in my daily life. I want everything to be simple and useful. Rather one thing that fills the function of many or nothing at all. Or finding contentment in just being. In my phasing out of stuff I am now at a cross roads where the stuff I have left is stuff I couldn’t get rid of the first few times around.
Books I have been absolutely convinced that I would read, or cook books that I knew that I just had to have. Camera gear and a bicycle that I find I am having a hard time parting ways with. The camera gear fits within my goals, hobbies and interests, the bike on the other hand? It’s fun to take out every once in a while. But at the moment and within the foreseeable future I don’t see myself partaking in any competition or meaningful activity that would suggest or motivate me keeping my bike. (This particular bike).
My goals right now consist of running an ultra marathon in May, the Stockholm marathon in June, backpacking and photography in northern Sweden, finish two books I’m working on plus a video course and moving to Zambia within the next year for at least 6 months to a year. None of these activities requires my particular bike or if anything the bike I have creates a stress of having to use it… And considering my daily quota of hours that I can allocate to riding a bike are minimal for the foreseeable future (I mainly need to run), I am having a hard time making a case to keep the bike and other such items.
It’s these kinds of choices that I now find myself having to make. Getting rid of books that made it through the first phase, since becoming vegan almost all my recipes are on apps (So I am giving away all my cook books to friends and family). I find that the choices though are getting easier, not just for myself but as a family unit things are getting easier. It’s the Zambia trip that is making us really give everything an extra thought. Because in all honesty when we leave Sweden, the only stuff I want left is the stuff I bring with me. I don’t want to own anything that is left behind. The exception being the house which we will rent out and a few personal items that belong in the house (TV, Couch..)
With that said, I find some of the stupidest things I have an attachment to.. A memory attachment, or something that’s serves no other purpose than the idea that at sometime in the future I may or may not use this item (Welding machine). I have old suits that I never use, excellent quality suits, and a throw back to a past life.. Still an attachment with no purpose.
I feel as if through this phase, the phase of getting rid of stuff that made it through all the other phases is really a demanding feat. It truly requires that I think deeply, ponder the usefulness, the meaning and the value that each item brings me. There is not a lot that brings this kind of value to my life.
Here is my strategy so far:
- Place all the stuff I believe I don’t need or want in boxes and store the boxes in a closet. Whatever is left in these boxes after 6 months goes.
- Write up a list of my goals for the next year. What purchases or items that I already own do I need to accomplish my goals? Are the things left outside the focus of my goals a distraction from my goals? If so, they go.
- By practicing my Leave no trace at home, I am finding that I give all my items and stuff a second look. Just the process of picking up after myself is creating an awareness of my stuff.
- Making conscious choices about what I bring into my life. This is done by constantly referring back to my goals and ambitions. With this purchase help me in my pursuit? I recently listened to a podcast on the Rich Rolls podcast channel where Rich had a discussion with Leo Babauta from Zenhabits.com. An amazing episode that really is required listening. Leo talks about, among other things, this very concept.