Why, specifically for me, is living simply worth it? Simplicity in our material living is a seemingly countercultural choice to many, as our consumeristic culture vehemently tells us to buy. Buy to be happy, buy to be successful, buy to fulfill your needs, buy to keep the bad guys from winning. We’re told to buy from so many places, so frequently, it becomes an all-encompassing sound in our lives. I can’t even count the amount of conversations I’ve had with friends and family members which boil down to “but how can you?” It isn’t a question of them agreeing with my choices, it’s a question of them not understanding how such a choice could even be feasible.
Convincing myself the choice was there was a significant step in my own progression. I also continue to have similar road blocks. Every once in a while, while I’m deciding to get rid of things, I remember having been convinced I couldn’t get rid of a particular item without giving up doing what I used it for completely. This has been most true for me when dealing with kitchen implements. One month, I’ll look at something in the kitchen and say to myself “If I get rid of this, I won’t be able to make a dish I like.” Then, a couple months later, I’ll look at the exact same thing and wonder why I still have it, since I don’t use it any more. Through getting rid of other kitchen stuff, I will keep coming up with ways to do all the things I want with an increasingly smaller collection of tools. I’m still finding more versatility out of the same old kitchen implements I’ve been using for years, cross-over uses I would never have thought of when I was cooking a year ago.
For me, living a life free of unnecessary belongings means more of so many aspects of life I cherish. In small and large ways, it means living the life I desire:
- less time cleaning (maybe a half hour every few days)
- more time reading
- time to slow down every day
- more time to focus on my relationships, on people
- more time for my hobbies
- reliably go to the gym, which is a huge personal success for me
Larger changes we have been able to do includes working less; due to the amount of space we need for our things, my significant other and I have been able to move in to a smaller apartment, with the attached lower rent. This translated in to us having lower living expenses in general. She’s a graduate student and I work part time. My paycheck and her stipend is enough for us to live off of for now. This allows us both time to focus on our own projects instead of only spending our time on projects for others.
The effects living more simply has had on my life are ones I have no intention of giving up. I have been surprised by how it has changed my life, impacting it far more than I ever thought owning less would do. It has already changed not only the look of my living space, but also the feel of my entire life and my outlook on my life.