On My Mind: Making The Purge
Happy New year friends!
This is the first time i’m writing this year. After a whirlwind holiday season and taking it easy over new years, this last week I finally got a chance to contact clients and get back to normal.
Over the holidays, we partied hard. We ate too much, drank too much and spent too much but we had a great time doing it. Now that the craziness is over, one of the values I really want to focus on this year is living a little more minimally.
I confess I haven’t really felt inspired to write lately. Maybe because it’s because I’m in my own head a lot, trying to figure things out. But I figure thinking aloud could help.
I wanted to talk about what living minimally means to me and how I can really accomplish that in a realistic way. At first I thought it meant the usual (empty) promises of eating out less, selling off some books and making a general “purge” of my possessions.
Jeremy and I have already started a “stuff to sell” box, and have made steps to breaking up with our cable provider for a cheaper netflix + hulu + amazon prime combo. We figure if we can save ~100 bucks a month, that will pay for one of our vacations this year.
But after I make that silent pledge to myself, I catch myself struggling daily, wanting to buy things that I really don’t need, but wanting them none the less because they will bring me temporary satisfaction.
And I stopped to think about it and it made me wonder… Why is NOT buying things so hard? People could argue it’s the culture we live in, where advertising monopolizes every media platform that we consume and we consume them at rapid rates.
Perhaps it’s a psychological impulse to buy things that I think will make me feel inspired to be a better person. I spent a portion of my day today searching for photo albums online. One of the sites I checked out was paper source. Paper source is one of many places that is my kryptonite and when I saw that they had a donut pillow, donut phone case, and donut pencil bag, I immediately added them to my cart without a second thought. It wasn’t until I went to checkout that I realized I did it again… I impulsively went to buy something that I thought would make me happy, when it’s really just more “stuff” to fill up my office.
So I think I will ask myself this one question every time I go to buy something frivolous:
Will this item help me make memories?
If the answer is no, then I need to really scrutinize as to what is motivating me into buying it.
That’s all great and good, but what about the stuff we already have? That’s where I really struggle. As I type this I sit on my couch and face not one but four dvd racks full of video games, cds, dvds, and yes, even a few vhs tapes. Most of it isn’t mine, and therefore I can’t “let it go”, but the sheer visual weight of all that stuff that brings no value to my life feels overwhelming, and that’s just one section of one room. I spent the first four years of our relationship thinking we needed all this stuff to make us happy, to personalize and make our living space feel “homey”.
What I was really doing was weighing ourselves down with trivial items that keep us from spending our money on things that really matter. While I can’t throw everything out, I can definitely make more of a conscious effort into
Here are some things we plan on doing this year to live more minimally:
– Selling old items that we don’t need or want anymore on craigslist
– Cutting out the cable bill and trading it for hulu/netflix/amazon prime ( savings of $80 a month)
– Eating out less and making bigger portions for leftovers (saving atleast $50 a month)
– Creating a source of passive income (target goal for first year: an extra $200 a month)
– Taking better advantage of deals, like groupons and air bnb to plan our entertainment and trips.
– Removing temptation by: unsubscribing to all the un necessary marketing emails , bringing lunch to work, and leaving my credit card at home during week days.
– Taking inventory of my office and purging what I can.
– Making the things I want instead of buying them.
– If I do need to buy a book, purchase the e-book version
Those are just some of the things that have been rattling around in my brain the last few weeks. It feels good to get them down somewhere.