Thoughts on Simplicity

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jdroth
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Thoughts on Simplicity

Postby jdroth » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:04 am

In today's discussion of "when did you start getting serious about money" (at the blog), a couple of folks recommended books by Don Aslett. Apparently he writes on how to de-clutter your life, etc.

When I first started Get Rich Slowly, one of the topics I intended to write about often was "voluntary simplicity". The idea of having less stuff appeals to me. I can see how it would be liberating. But somehow I always acquire <i>more</i> stuff. And I find it difficult to let go of the stuff I already have. I need some help jump-starting this aspect of my life.

Books are a great example: I have hundreds. (I used to have thousands, but I managed to purge about half my collection just over a year ago.) Do I need all these books? Of course not. But something keeps me buying more and keeping them all. I have certain friends who live very simple lives. I go to their houses and things are spartan. There's a minimum of furniture. There's no clutter. I'd love to be like that, but I can't. I suspect these people are able to process just one thing at a time. Me? I need to process dozens of things at once.

Maybe that's why I find vacations so liberating: I'm only focusing on one thing, the here and now.

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Postby plonkee » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:45 am

I find it helpful to declutter, and I favour a minimalism in general, but i find it very difficult to get rid of books and cds, or to stop acquiring them. I don't really worry about it any more, I find both music and reading very important to me so it makes sense that I accumulate books and cds. I should get rid of and stop buying the other things that I could care less about.
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Postby kgazette » Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:39 pm

Right now, I'm trying to severely cut down on the amount of stuff I own. Like, it would be nice if I could figure out a way to detach myself from everything but my clothes and my computer! But I'm extremely sentimental, so the process isn't going so well...

But I'm really, really trying to focus on cutting things down. For one thing, the though "I've only been on this planet for 20 years - how did I end up with so much stuff?" keeps popping into my head. Also, I'm currently packing up for a move, and I don't want to have to move more than necessarily! Finally, in a few years, I'll be moving again - across the country. It would be nice to not have to rent a truck or anything, but simply pack my car and go. Even better if there is still enough room to have a passenger in the car with me!

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Postby squished18 » Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:02 pm

JD,

We'll come to your aid! Just post a list of ten random objects in your possession. Post it as a poll and we'll vote on which object to discard. You just have to promise to follow through on getting rid of the item we choose. :)

Just do this once a week and in a year we'll have paired down your collection by 52 items!

Come to think of it, why just offer this service to JD? This could apply to anybody on these boards. :)

squished

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Postby jdroth » Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:09 pm

Maybe I should start by discarding blogs.

Between my personal site and Get Rich Slowly, I don't really have time to maintain my other sites, and yet I keep trying to do so! :oops:

I'm not going to give up my <a href="http://www.animalintelligence.org">Animal Intelligence</a> site &mdash; I love it &mdash; but the others could certainly be put on hold until I have more time. Three blogs should be enough for any man, right?

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Postby brad » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:43 pm

jdroth wrote:Maybe I should start by discarding blogs.


Yeah, I was wondering how you could keep all those going at once!

I don't have ANY blogs (although I do spend too much time leaving comments on yours and a few other blogs), but I've even been gradually weaning myself from those. I did have an idea for a blog, though, which might come in handy for you if you want to try it: you could pledge to throw away, recycle, sell, or give away one of your possessions every day, and you could blog about that, perhaps posting a photo of the item and what you're going to do with it. Then at the end, once you've pared down your belongings to your satisfaction, throw away the blog as well.

I've been pretty good about finding one thing almost every day that I can get rid of; the problem always lies in actually getting rid of it. I have a pile of used books here in my office that I have for sale on Amazon; no takers yet. I went through my file cabinets and filled three large trash bags with old papers that I no longer need and can take to a shredder, but I haven't yet found a shredding service here in town that will do a one-time job for a reasonable fee. I have some old computer equipment that I need to take to the electronics recycling center here in town, but it's all the way across town and inconvenient to get to, so I haven't gotten there yet. But at least I've identified all these things to get rid of!

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Postby jdroth » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:48 pm

Brad, I think that's an amazing idea for a blog. Now I want to add a new blog to the fold! :roll:

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Postby jdroth » Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:19 am

<i>Clutter's Last Stand</i> arrived in the mail yesterday. Kris' eyes got big when she saw it: :shock:

"Can I read that first?" she said. She's practically salivating at the thought that I might purge some junk...

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Postby squished18 » Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:38 am

JD,

Have you ever heard of 5S?

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Postby jdroth » Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:44 am

Squised -- no, I haven't. What is 5S? (I'll go google to see what I can find...)

<b><i>Edit:</i></b> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5S">wikipedia on 5S</a> Interesting...

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Postby canadiandream » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:07 pm

I can totally understand wanting to declutter. My problem is most of the clutter in the house is from my wife. I love her a lot but she just doesn't put things away.

*Sigh*

I suppose I could just start decluttering my things and hope she decides to give it a try.

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Postby shejake » Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:26 pm

After living in one house for 26 years and raising 3 kids, we decided to travel. We purchased a motorhome and sold the house along with everything that would not fit in a 400 sq. ft. motorhome. The first week of selling "stuff" was extremely difficult. There were so many treasures and sentimental items. But each week it became easier and easier. Now, after living in the motorhome for almost 2 years, we find that we miss virtually nothing that we left behind. So....let go of "stuff" and concentrate on the few things that are important to you.

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Postby jdroth » Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:30 pm

Thanks, shejake. I've been trying to apply a similar philosophy to most of my life. It's difficult, though. I'm used to having so much cheap junk around that it's a tough transition to pursuing more expensive high-quality items. I'm trying to teach myself that having one very nice thing that I use and admire is better than having many broken crappy things I don't use at all.

I've spent most of today cleaning and purging, cleaning and purging. I've put a huge number of magazines in the recycling, and have a couple boxes of books that I'm just going to put in the garage and forget about until the summer. At that time I'll try to make the next step, taking them to the nearby used book store...

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Postby Mike Panic » Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:02 pm

i bought my place 15 months ago, it is the first time ive lived away from home... ever.

when i moved out, i took very little with me and since it was the first place ive lived, i had to buy everything.

i bought a couch and a chair and a half w/ ottoman that i really like (0% intrest for a year, rather use someone elses money), got my bed frame off craigslist (wasn't taking my old bed w/ me), bought a new floor model bed from a local sleepys (again, 0% intrest for a year) and some kitchen essentials. my bedroom is about 16x22 in size... it has my bed, a 6.5' x 3.5' mirror in the corner from ikea and an alarm clock. no lights, no end tables, no dressers (have a huge walk in closet), nothing. i won't buy end tables till i find ones i really love, i don't need most of that stuff, its just more crap to dust. w/out sounding too new age and zen, i sleep a LOT better, like seriously do.

my living room is now very open, i recently hung a plasma on the wall and gor rid of the traditional rear projection big screen i had, opens things up.

i don't read nearly as much as i should, but i find reading a book and then giving it to a friend is a great thing... everyone should try it out.

most magazines i have i either give to people when im done or sell on ebay cuz someone wants them

im a big fan of clean, modern design now, i feel the place looks cleaner and more open and simple.

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Postby elasticdog » Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:21 pm

I've found that one of the best ways for me to simplify is when it is done out necessity, like when moving. I've moved a few times now (once where I basically packed up what would fit in my car and hit the road) and each time, I find that I'd rather get rid of stuff then have to move it and unpack it on the other side. Unfortunately, I just need to do a better job keeping up on simplifying my life on a daily basis and doing so when a move isn't eminent. One thing that works for me is that I've designated a place in my apartment for putting all the stuff I want to donate to Goodwill, and once it gets full, I load it up and drop it off. Now if only there was a way to convince my girlfriend to get rid of some of her clothes, I'd be all set ;-)


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