I’ve never been much into possessions beyond the essentials and I am fascinated by efficiency, so a minimalist approach to life is definitely appealing. I’ve been experimenting for quite some time on implementing a more minimal lifestyle.
I’ve got quite a few ideas that I’m working on right now in regard to limiting my acquisition of things. The idea is to cut out anything that just sits around and cut out things that I already have sitting around. My basic approach is to keep track of what I’m using and how frequently I am using it. If I get a large amount of use out of an item and always remember the last time I used it, it seems worth having around to me. I also keep track of stuff that I never use and make a mental note to get some use out of it. If acknowledging it and consciously trying to get some use out of it doesn’t get me to value an object, then I sell it on Craig’s List.
I love selling things on Craig’s List. What you’re selling doesn’t have to have that much value or prestige attached to it, selling something less appealing can be more fulfilling, you really have to showcase it for what it is and it’s appeal and wait for the perfect buyer to come along. In most cases, the things I’ve had listed for the longest have had the most enthusiastic buyers. They’ve thought about the type of item for awhile and suddenly stumbled upon it online and in their area. It can be a pretty cool experience.
I’ve got another approach in mind as well, it’s way more about instant gratification though. Keeping track of possessions and use cases can be a pain in the ass and sometimes it’s pretty obvious what the end result of a certain possessions evaluation will be. I heard about an idea not too long ago that I really liked, and recently found out that Derek Sivers originated it. The basic idea is that whenever you need to make a yes or no decision, just think of it as a Hell Yes! or no decision. This is a quick way to measure your enthusiasm for the subject, if its borderline and you’re not really into the idea, it’s a no. Why even bother with something if it’s a lukewarm yes, life is too short.
The same idea can be applied to everything you own. Simply look at it and decide, do you want to keep it? Hell yeah or no. That’s it, anything that you aren’t enthusiastic about I can almost guarantee you aren’t using much and can either be sold or donated.
I also look a certain way at anything that I want to purchase. In most cases, I’m replacing something that I already have and use.This is a bit extreme for some people, but I’ve paid for a ton of stuff by selling whatever I’m replacing it with prior to or after the purchase. Even just considering these options makes me put more value in every buying decision that I make and I make many fewer frivolous purchases. I’ve convinced myself away from purchases many times by avoiding what would otherwise be an impulse buy.
Generally for me, I just find stuff to be distractions unless it has a genuine use. I’m not completely utilitarian though, some of my stuff I just look at and reflect on pretty regularly, that’s a use to me as long as it’s offering me value. There’s also my fiancée to consider, she’s into the idea but maybe not as much as I am. We’re working on it together though.
Have you ever thought about cutting down on your physical possessions before or have you already? What’re your thoughts and how did you get rid of everything, a simple donation or did you have some fun selling it? Let me know in the comments below!