How to Rock Simple Living by Having a Partay!
Here’s a little secret about me….
I used to have a double garage packed to the gills with stuff that I’d forgotten I even owned. I even had to park my car on my driveway and deal with scraping ice off the windshield in the winter because there was no room left in the garage. Occasionally, I dared to enter the chaos in search of an item that I could rarely find.
Simple living wasn’t even on my radar back when I was so caught up in acquiring the next new thing my mind told me it wanted. I’d go out and buy the latest and greatest of it all….technology, sports gear, trendy clothes, housewares, CD’s, books, children’s toy fads (for my son, Nate)….you name it! I was a consumer magnet! It wasn’t until 2010 that I began to learn about the rewards of living with less.
2010 was a year of transition for me and I found myself moving twice that year. During the process of packing and unpacking, I began to ask myself why I had so much stuff… and why was I lugging it around from place to place. My rationalization for hanging on to something was always that ‘I would use it again at some point.’ After 2 moves and a back injury from carrying my stuff from place to place, I reached the end of my rope.
Here’s what I started to ask everything I owned.
4 questions to ask your Stuff:
- Do you add value to my life?
- Do I use you on a consistent basis (at least once a week)
- Will I miss you when you’re gone?
- Am I attached to you? If so, why?
As my co-pilot, Jeff, and I have upped our “simple living” ante, we have gifted and sold almost all of our belongings as we prepare for our move to Ecuador. Our decision to move to South America was birthed from our decision to get clear about what we value most in life. Through this clarity came the choice to de-clutter our lives from the stuff that no longer added real value. We also decided to stop acquiring new things unless they clearly supported our health, passions, work and simple living goals.
We’re both stoked to be whittling everything we own down to two suitcases each for our move to the south. We’ll be starting fresh with a newfound respect for keepin’ it simple.
“Progress is discovering what you can do without.” ~ Marty Rubin
If you’re inspired by a simpler lifestyle but feel overwhelmed by the prospect of deciding what stuff to get rid of, here’s an effective method for getting you started.
Throw a packing party!
I learned about this from a talk that the Minimalists gave last March in Denver, CO.
Here’s what you do: Pretend that you suddenly have to move and you have just one day to pack up everything you own. Rather than having this be an arduous process, make it a party and invite your friends and family over to help. Have food and drinks available, music thumpin’ and all of the necessary materials on hand to make it happen.
Begin packing everything you own, including, the kitchen, junk drawers, basement storage etc. Pack your necessities such as toothbrush and shampoo as well. Throw a sheet over the items that are too big, like your couch, big screen television and exercise bike.
Over the next week, you will gradually unpack the stuff that becomes necessary for you to use. When you need your razor to shave, unpack it. When you need clothes for your friend’s dinner party, unpack it. By day seven, you’ll notice that most of your belongings are still in boxes. When the month comes to a close, it will become clearer what wants to stay and what wants to go.
At this point you can organize a follow-up “Release Party” where you decide what will be sold, donated, or simply thrown away. An awesome added bonus: on separate index cards, write down all of the negative patterns and behavior that no longer serve you (have your friends do this as well). At the end of the party, find a safe place and way of burning the index cards as a symbol of letting go.
This exercise may seem extreme….but if you’re serious about creating less clutter and distraction in your life….and moving stale energy out of your environment, then get to it!
Ready, set….start packing!
I’d love to hear your feedback! Let’s start a conversation about all things simple.
Share your experiences and tips about simple living by leaving a comment down below.
I can’t wait to hear your stories!
As always, in deep love and appreciation for you,