I’ve been mostly staying home, kicking back for the last couple of weeks. I cooked goodies for Christmas and fresh turnip greens with turnips and black-eyed peas for New Years, and I’ve planted a lot of daffodils, but mostly I’ve just goofed off. I watched some television shows I’d never seen before. Spellbound, I watched a whole evening of Oddities, where really strange people buy and sell really strange stuff, and Pickers, where a couple of guys travel the country looking in old garages for oddball stuff they can buy and sell and another of Storage Wars, where teams of professional scroungers fight over somebody else’s abandoned storage locker stuff. I watched a half dozen poor miserable hoarders struggle to hang on to their mess while the people who loved them tried to get them to turn loose. I was fascinated with all the stuff being bought and sold on the first three shows. Interesting stuff, but none of it was anything anybody needed. But at least they kept it moving. The bigger problem with the hoarders is that they just bought stuff. Or scrounged it. And never let anything go, until it just took over their lives, and finally owned them.
Then yesterday I saw this link on Donna Rinn’s facebook profile to a page called 7 Ways to Simple Living With Less by Joshua Becker. “Three years ago,” his page says, “his typical, suburban family of four made the decision to minimize their possessions, declutter their home, and simplify their lives. In so doing, they discovered countless real-life benefits of living with less.” His website and Facebook pages, as well as his ebooks give tips and cheerful encouragement towards simplifying ones life.
I’ve given simple living a lot of thought, and sometimes tried to aim at it. I live in the country in a very small house. I subscribe to Mother Earth News and dream of living in the sustainable way they advocate. I would be embarrassed for you to see how many books I have piled up around here on how to simplify. I gave away a lot of stuff when I moved here,but immediately began replacing it. And in a little house, it doesn’t take long to have more stuff than you have places to put it.
Watching all those television shows gave me a huge overdose of “stuff,” and I was reminded how much of it is useless and what it does to some people. Stuff can eat you alive. It can paralyze you. I’ve shed a lot of it through the years, but I still carry a pretty good load of stuff I don’t need, and don’t even enjoy. Reading Josh Becker’s writings was a breath of fresh air, and inspiration to shed a bunch more stuff. I went to Amazon and bought his ebook, called Simplify. It is excellent. I am inspired. I’m going to change. I’m getting rid of a bunch more stuff. I’m going to get it down to the point I have a place for everything I keep. This is going to be made easier for me by the great work Faith in Action and Becky’s Closet are doing right here in Malakoff. They know how to do good with the stuff I’ve been hoarding, that has just been getting in my way. I’m going to give them a lot more stuff. I’m going to help them in any way I can.
Here is a disclaimer: the home I most enjoying visiting is chock full of stuff—wonderful eclectic stuff, lovingly collected and cared for. It would be a crime for that homeowner to get rid of one thing. Your home may be like that, too. But I do believe most of us would be much better off if we thinned down a bunch.
If you find this a little bit interesting, you can find more information at www.becomingminimalist.com. You will find lots of ideas and encouragement there. You can get his ebooks on Amazon.com. And if you want a real book, I have several I can loan you.
Maybe we can start a support group.