Sep 21, 2009

Personal Challenge: Paring Down the Stuff

I still have too much stuff. I have been simplifying my personal possessions for the past couple of years, but I still have more things than I need and/or want. And so my first personal challenge is going to be to donate 10 items a week. I am starting small with this challenge, because part of my personal quest to live a simpler life has been to let go of the need to be perfect and to overextend myself with unrealistic expectations. So 10 things a week it is.

Some people might ask what getting rid of stuff has to do with voluntary simplicity and social justice. So here are a few of my musings on the topic:

1. The more stuff I have, the more I have to worry about taking care of it, cleaning it, organizing it, moving it, storing it... I could go on and on. Living a simple life is about more than just simplifying and getting rid of things. However, I've found that clearing away the external clutter naturally leaves me space to work on the internal stuff.

2. As long as I have too much stuff and others do not have enough stuff, I feel that I should continue to do my part to help distribute resources more equitably. And if I have something that I can donate to Goodwill or another donation center, then not only am I helping to provide a solid organization with the resources they need to be sustainable, I am also hopefully providing an individual or family with something they can put to good use.

3. The more we buy used goods, the more we are helping our environment. If you haven't already done so, check out The Story of Stuff. We are all connected to each other and the Earth. I think it is important that I continue to take steps to help contribute to a more sustainable and responsible model of consumerism.

I will update my progress on this challenge for the next month or so, when I will probably pick a new challenge to focus on and write about. This post was inspired by this one... and this one.

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