Paring Down

by kimberlydinan on December 7, 2010 · 6 comments

Today Brian complimented me on my scarf and I said, thanks, but I need a new one, it’s the only one I have and I’m so sick of it

Yikes.

Although I consider myself pretty conscious of the negative impacts of over-consumption and, in addition to that, am just damn cheap, the concept of MORE!, MORE!, MORE! is so ingrained in me.

We live in a small house and I hate clutter.  As a result, we probably have less stuff than most United Statesians (I’m making up that word, since I hate how “American” implies that the U.S. is the only “American” country, which clearly isn’t the case).  And yet, I still have a whole drawer full of cotton t-shirts, we’ve got 25 spoons in our utensil organizer, on that note, we have a utensil organizer, and I’ve got at least 10 pairs of shoes.  We own eight throw rugs, four of which stay folded up, eagerly awaiting their turn at collecting our shoe-dirt.  I’ve got three winter hats, three pie dishes, six decks of playing cards and at least a dozen picture frames.  I’ve got a broom to sweep the kitchen, a broom to sweep the garage, and a broom to sweep the back porch.  I’ve got so much stuff that I could get rid of half of it, right now, and still have so much stuff. 

An unexpected benefit of the planning process is a daily realization of how much I don’t need.  As we make preparations to sell, loan out or give away almost everything we own, I’m doubly conscious of any new item we take on.  I’ve taken to looking at things in a new light.  Instead of buying things, we make do with what we have.  We’ve stopped buying new things and yet, like magic, we still have everything we need. 

And on the subject of stuff, check out Annie Leonard’s video if you haven’t already seen it.  It’s a good enough reason to simplify, even if you aren’t planning on traveling the world. 

Click to view The Story of Stuff.  

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaime December 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Oh welcome to the life of a RTWsoon-er!!! I went through this a few months ago. I got rid of so much clothes/stuff/junk/crap laying around my room and put it up for either SALE/DONATE/TRASH! Its a long process but its fun once you get the hang of it and you see everything dwindle down. At this point I only have a few more things to get rid of but will not happen until my departure date gets closer. Its sad that it took me planning a RTW trip to realize I have to much stuff. I actually wrote a post about becoming a minimalist.

I love that Im not alone on the whole AMERICA is the US thing cus UGH it annoys me too.

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kimberlydinan December 7, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Hi Jamie. I agree, it feels amazing to begin to get rid of it all. And it’s fun to watch the faces of family when I say that I don’t want anything for Christmas. Ain’t life easier when we don’t have so much crap to manage?

When is your departure date?

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Kristina Wegscheider July 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Great post! I have been following the same approach as you but I’m not doing a RTW trip! Met my now-fiance in Jordan and am preparing to combine our lives.

I have slowly stopped buying so much “stuff” too and am amazed at how you don’t really need it all. Now, my American Express bill just looks like I eat 24/7 since all I seem to buy is food!!

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Kim July 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Thanks Kristina! I’m beginning to realize that the less you have the less you need. We are putting our house on the market and keep getting rid of tons of stuff. Things we held on to six months ago just don’t seem so important anymore. It feels so nice to purge and live with less. Less is more!

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