Spring is about a month away and I’ve already started my yearly cleaning. Here in Massachusetts public schools get a February and an April break. Since I’m home this week, this is the perfect opportunity to start purging myself of possessions that I don’t often use. It turns out that I have more things to get rid of than I initially thought I did.
I mentioned in a past post that I’ve been using my French Press for the past year or so to make coffee. Ever since I started making coffee this way, I stopped using my coffee machine all together. It has literally just been sitting there gathering dust. When I started thinking of the things that I would get rid of, this was not initially on my list. I started thinking that I may have someone over and they might want regular coffee. Really? What a lame excuse. Shortly after this thought popped into my mind, I realized that I was in fact simply making excuses to hang on to things that I don’t use and don’t need. As a matter of fact, upon further analysis, I realized that I actually kind of hate that coffee maker. I find the pot hard to clean and dry. It also sticks a bit when I’m removing it from the machine.
So if I hate something and I never use it, why would I ever even think twice about getting rid of it? It’s clear that I have not only been trained to be a super consumer my whole life, but that this way of operating has been so deeply ingrained in my brain that I’ve also been trained not to even consider getting rid of any possessions that I no longer use.
I had a somewhat similar epiphany with my blender and food processor. I recently got a ninja blender/food processor combo for Christmas. This machine is of much higher quality than my old blender and food processor. So why am I still sitting here at the end of February with all of these different machines in my house? Once again, this is an excellent question, and I can only attribute the answer to the consumer mindset.
Many people go down the road to FI and minimalism simultaneously. These two lifestyles go hand in hand. Over the past year or so I’ve been listening to tons of podcasts and doing a lot of reading. I really liked the idea of assigning value and energy to each object that you own. It makes a ton of sense, but in so many cases we don’t stop to analyze our possessions this way.
After I read about this concept, I immediately thought of the number of times that I’ve moved and how exhausted I am after each move. Each time I move it takes me several months to get everything unpacked and put in it’s place. I also say that I’m never moving again each and every time. One of the things that made my moves so arduous is the fact that I am a book hoarder. I love books. I had several tall shelves of books and those weren’t even all of the books I’ve ever bought. I had tried to purge myself of books on numerous occasions with no luck. Why do I insist on keeping so many books that I only read once or not at all?
We live in a country with some pretty decent libraries. Also, I have a Kindle and there is more free reading content available than I can actually consume. This past fall I finally managed to rid myself of all but about twenty books. I kept the ones I use for my online teaching, and a few that I never read but still intend to down the line. I figured why get rid of something I may need to go out and find in the future. Although, in all likelihood I will donate these books once I do read them.
Even though I still don’t have everything figured out and I haven’t completely decided on what I’ll donate and sell, I think I am on my way to a more minimalist life and to reclaiming more of my energy to devote to other endeavors.
What do you do to break out of the consumer lifestyle?