When a co-worker and friend of mine, Monika, posted this quote on Facebook:
Perfection is achieved, not when there’s nothing more to add, but when there’s nothing left to take away. – A. De Saint-Exupery
It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential. – Bruce Lee
Which made me post this:
And which, led me to writing this blog.
As we are immersed in the holidays, its inevitable that we end up adding more stuff into our lives, whether that’s people, gifts or even stress. It may be hard for you to think about what sorts of things you can do without while your living room is still cluttered with pine needles, tinsel and empty boxes, but I challenge you to do exactly that.
According to the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail association that represents retailers from the United States and 45 countries worldwide, we (Americans) will have spent over 461.9 billion DOLLARS on holiday shopping this year. That’s roughly the GDP of Poland. And a according to a recent Gallup poll, each American will spend about $764 each on holiday gifts. That’s a lot of candles, Starbucks gift cards and body lotions.
Being the minimalist that I like to assume that I am, these numbers seem preposterous to me. Especially to think that half of the crap that we end up getting, we’ll probably never use. Now, I’m not trying to sound like a Grinch, as I too contributed to the $461.9 billion, and I’m also very much enjoying the gifts that I received. However, I want us to stop and think about this for a second.
Our country is in debt, we as Americans are in debt (I’m in debt too with student loans and medical bills), yet we are still spending money we don’t have, on things we don’t really need. I will try not to digress any further, but the thought of spending more than you can actually afford is simply waste and creates an imbalance between what we want and what we actually need.
So, in an effort to bring balance and harmony back into our lives, I challenge you to take a look at all your “stuff” and sift through what you can do without. Go through your closets, your storage bins, your attic, your basement, even under your bed, and see what things you can “hack away” as Bruce Lee so eloquently puts it.
I am a firm believer that when you get rid of things you don’t need, you make room for bringing better more useful things into your life. So take a look at your life, your space, and your social networks. Perhaps its time to do some purging.
And to give you some ideas, I’ve listed some “unnecessary” things me and some of my Facebook friends came up with:
1. Clothes you haven’t worn in the last 6 months.
2. Premium cell phone or cable packages.
3. Old paper records (do you really need that warranty from the toaster that you threw out 2 years ago?)
4. Negative people
5. Toxic or self-limiting thoughts.
6. Your car.
7. Credit cards.
8. Internet time. (A contribution from Liz Dialto, a Facebook friend and NYC-based fitness expert)
9. Magazine subscriptions.
10. Personal hygiene products you don’t use. (do you really need 4 different kinds of shampoos?)
11. Supplements (eat real food instead).
12. Time watching t.v.
13. Old crap on your computer. (Old Word files, games you don’t play anymore, applications, etc)
14. Junk e-mails. (You’d be surprised how liberating a clear inbox feels.)
15. Furniture you don’t have room for or don’t use.
16. Excess sugar and caffeine.
17. Kitchen appliances. (Do you really still use that Slapchop?)
18. Nick-nacks in the nick-nack drawer in your kitchen. (We all have one, the drawer full of crap we don’t know what to do with like, old batteries, rubber bands, paper clips, and that thing-a-ma-bob that came with the desk you put together but don’t know where it goes).
19. Old towels and linens.
20. The old Bowflex or treadmill you bought in 2008 that’s collecting dust in your basement. (Use it or lose it.)
21. Facebook (ironic, seeing that’s how this blog came to be. I do feel that we all, myself included, spend far too much time on BookFace.)