Saturday, February 27, 2010

Always too much stuff

Those of you who read my post on simplifying will know that I strive for a simple, uncluttered, unhurried life.

A big part of that is managing possessions. It is all too easy to accumulate stuff, even though we try very hard to avoid the 'mall trall' and anything made in China. But somehow, it creeps in ... gifts from our generous friends and family, hand-me-downs, stuff the kids have outgrown, and of course, sometimes we just buy 'stuff'. And if I am not constantly 'decluttering' it gets out of control so fast.

At the moment my kitchen is getting a purge when I struggled to fit the juicer, the food processor and the slow cooker all in the same cupboard. Of course I can justify all 3 items as 'essentials', along with my electric egg-beater, my immersion blender, the toaster, the jug, 2 frypans, a crepe pan, my potato ricer, my hand egg-beater, 3 white square platters, 2 milk jugs, .... the list goes on and on.

I have decided to apply the same rule in the kitchen that I do in my wardrobe - if it hasn't come out in a year, then I don't need it. So that means I can keep my oh-so-perfectly-seasoned crepe pan, but only 1 fry pan. I can have 2 square white platters, but number 3 is surplus. And really, the slow cooker is starting to look a bit questionable too. Of course, some things I will keep because I am a teeny bit sentimental ... my nana-in-law's silver cutlery, my beautiful cake stands, my husbands beloved but unused beer glasses.

But everything else can find a new home.

One blogger who is my role model here is Sara Janssen. (I've raved about her before)You can read her new blog 'The Happy Janssens' if you need inspiration. 2 adults, a five year old and a 9 month old baby living in an RV. Enough said.

A devoted Christian, Sara feels that she is following the path of Jesus by not owning too many things, and many other faiths share a similar view. Vietnamese Zen Monk Thich Nhat Hanh talks about the importance of simplicity as part of the spiritual path, and one of the precepts his followers seek to adopt is:

Simple, Healthy Living - Aware that true happiness is rooted in peace, solidity, freedom and compassion, and not in wealth or fame, I am determined not to take as the aim of my life fame, profit, wealth or sensual pleasure, nor to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying. I am committed to living simply and sharing my time, energy and material resources with those in real need. I will practise mindful consuming, not using alcohol, drugs or any other products that bring toxins into my own and the collective body and consciousness.

There are so many areas in my life that can be further simplified ... and the gains are great. Perhaps a new thought for me should be 'what would I talk if we lived in an RV'.

What would you need?


Seaside Siblings said...

Inspiring post. I find that an uncluttered house helps keep my mind uncluttered. At the moment though with 2 under 2 , I am struggling to find the time to declutter and the 'stuff' is slowly accumulating.

Annicles said...

we are going down this route too, although for a different reason. My eldest child has a processing disorder that comes under the dyslexia umbrella. This makes it incredibly hard for her to operate in a cluttered environment. we have gone down to just 5 toys per child and a massive reduction in everything else. It has been a marvelous experience and we keep ourselves on top of it with the 1 thing in, 1 thing out rule!

Montessori Beginnings said...

I think it also comes down to how much money you have and where you choose to spend it. Since we've been together my husband and I have lived on the bare essentials. This really hit home when we moved to Canada and only shipped four boxes of stuff. All our worldly possesions in four boxes!
The thing I never seem to be able to get a handle on is all of the papers sent in the mail. So many flyers, bills, etc. I never know how long to save things for!
Thanks for sharing your ongoing quest for a simplified life.

nova_j said...

funnily enough in inlaws have just bought an RV! and there is a decent possibility of us living in it while building a new house.. funnily enough i've also been considering the possibility of living in it while our house is on the market, venturing inside only to use the bathroom & washing machine, and perhaps the kitchen a little... but NONE of our clutter messing up the house! heh heh..