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I wrote recently about my process of “Destuffing“, or getting rid of all the junk that is either in closets or around me every day. I got motivated again last week after having coffee with a friend. She said, “I don’t have anything in my house that I don’t use”.

Wow! Although I have done quite a bit of destuffing, I am a long way from that status. Even after 18 months of shedding, my kitchen (for example), is filled with stuff I never use. My friend jolted into letting go of a few more things. However, I don’t especially want to spend a lot of my warm sunny days cleaning out again, so I decided, “Find just five things today”.

That was yesterday. That was easy. I collected up a silk tree, an old juicer I don’t use, two old but nice sweaters, and a pair of pants. Today I thought, well, let’s just try another five things.  This doesn’t take long and is kind of a fun project that might even work well with kids. This time my lot of five includes a mini greenhouse, small metal cabinet, old crockpot, and two baking pans!   I am really enjoying getting rid of stuff (although camping gear is exempt). A free feeling rewards the diligent destuffer.

Of course there is a greater goal; it is not just about decluttering for the sake of decluttering. My goal is to simplify my life. For one thing, I want to make better use of my time as I age. Think about how much time and money it takes to obtain, and maintain everything. Then, there is the green/sustainability issue. Americans use 80% of the world’s resources, much of it on ridiculous junk (of course, camping gear is excluded from my self-serving definition of ridiculous junk).  Additionally, a materialistic lifestyle is a root cause of our cultural decay. So, there is a concern about the “greater good” at work every time we intentionally downsize and simplify.

Cleaning The Attic

Cleaning The Attic (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

As I destuff my material belongings I also find myself looking for ways to simplify my To Do list. I am always doing something. My work is challenging and fulfilling. I have many hobbies and a big house/yard to maintain. I try to exercise and stay healthy. I camp and travel.  However, I don’t have to do all the things I do. I chose to do each one, which means, just like I clean out the kitchen, I can clean out the never-ending list of things I do. I am finding that  that this aspect of simple living has a freeing effect too. Last night, for example, I started a little campfire in my fire pit and puttered around the back yard.  Tango followed me around approvingly. As dusk settled in, I simply sat in a chair and drank an apple ale. The wood burned down to coals and I put a peach cobbler in the Dutch oven and let it cook (yuck, don’t use Bisquick). Anyway, it was an enjoyable, peaceful evening of simple pleasures. I slept well, in fact I over slept this morning, which in not a bad thing for me.

So, stay tuned…I will be repritorizing my To Do List and find five activities to delete from my life forever. Some will slide off easily, others will be more difficult. But first, another apple ale!

English: Replica of Thoreau's cabin near Walde...

English: Replica of Thoreau’s cabin near Walden Pond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Related articles:

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication (bharadwajism.com)

Fewer but better. (hermitmacarius.wordpress.com)

Take the Simple Living Pledge (mindmindful.wordpress.com)

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