You probably got some neat stuff for the holidays. Maybe some new clothes, possibly a new iPad or iPhone, (links to my apps and ebooks on the right…hint, hint). So, are you going to add those goodies to the pile, or are ya gonna start downsizing and join our merry band of minimalists?
Actually, I use this time of the year to trim the fat and replace as needed. By this time some of my clothes have reached the end of their economical usefulness. And with a handful of Bass Pro gift cards, I usually head up the island chain to the World Wide Sportsman for some replacement duds. Notice I said replacement. Right now I have about 30 pieces of clothing in my minimal wardrobe. I found a nice mix of shorts, fishing shorts, and assorted other bits to be sufficient to handle all my clothing needs over the course of the year. The mild weather here makes it lots easier. No winter clothes, although a few recent cold fronts might convince me to add a pair of jeans to the mix. For the most part, light weight, light colored clothes designed to keep you cool in the heat, and dry off quickly when they get wet are the uniform du jour for these parts. I’m partial to the Columbia Brand although WWS has their own brand of similar stuff but a bit cheaper. I’ll pick up a few replacement bits and be set for another year’s use.
I also use this time to decide if there is anything else that needs to go. I have a simple rule that I use to keep my minimal possessions, minimal. I use a timeline of one year. If over the course of a year’s time I have not used something, be it an article of clothing, an electrical device, an ex-girlfriend, I get rid of it. Toss it, sell it, take it for a one way trip to the reef, whatever works out the best. I’ve found that a year is more than enough to decide whether or not you need something. If it has just sat there taking up space and doing nothing, like my ex, then there is no sense in keeping it around. If the situation should arise that I find I do need it, there are always plenty more to be had someplace. By using this strict timeframe, I avoid accumulating more stuff. I have only what I truly need and replace it on an as needed basis. It keeps the clutter to a minimum, I stay very mobile, and I’m not wasting money that could be used for more important things, like food, or shelter.
Yah, I know, the boat. Ain’t that a big possession? And don’t I have lots of things that go with it? Yes, that’s true. However, the stuff for the boat, is the stuff for the boat. Meaning that the day I sell it and go onto something else, all that is with the boat, stays with the boat. I will leave with a back pack, and two cats. Unless I move to another boat, then I may drag a few things along. When I buy something for the boat, it has a specific purpose. Repair or replacing something. Cleaning something. Keeping the damn thing afloat. I don’t buy any frilly stuff. No fancy curtains or nautical themed dishware for the galley. Everything I get for the boat is utilized for the boat and has usefulness.
Beyond that though, everything else is fair game. Not used in a year? Gone. The good thing is though, I have downsized so well over the past few years that there is very little to sort through and discard. The computer and iPhone are running fine. Same with the camera. Just replaced the bike last week. Things like dishware and utensils are all courtesy of the dollar store so nothing worth fussing over there. So, I’ll take a look at everything, see what needs to go, see what needs replaced, and be ready for another exciting year.
If you are downsizing, or considering doing so, now is as good a time as any to start. What do you have that you don’t need or use? And don’t give me any of that, “I might need this.” routine. You either use it or you don’t. If you don’t, get rid of it. You can always find another one later to beg, steal, or borrow. Trust me, if you dare, if that something has sat in a closet, a corner, or hidden in a box over the past year and you haven’t touched it, that means you don’t need it. So out it goes. Once you start downsizing, you find you have more room, more money, less stress, and more time to occupy yourself with more important things in life than material possessions. Try it, you might like it.
Less is More.