THIS. I remember when Maxie first told me she was considering selling everything in her storage unit. She’d basically been on the road for a year and, after she expressed hesitation, I asked, “Did you even need anything in the unit during the year?” The answer was no!
I’m impressed with Maxie’s ability to get rid of everything! I’m not quite on board with getting rid of everything (haha! sorry Max!), but I do follow a few of these principals. I personally like to invest in quality and I (almost always) follow a one in-one out policy when buying things.
The Power of Living with Less
Guest Post by Maxie McCoy
In the past, I never really understood minimalists. The people who could go traveling through Europe with only a backpack… like how!? I’d have two overweight suitcases. One for shoes. The people who had zero clutter and barely any storage made no sense to me. My keepsakes are everywhere and closets bursting at the seams. And I sure as heck never got how you could only have a couple outfits that were repeated while still looking classy. Negative. Ever.
But then I basically lived out of a suitcase for almost an entire year and everything changed. I realized how much our obsession with things holds a power over us. And how powerful it is to live with less. So much less.
I’m writing this having just sold, donated or pitched everything that I own, besides a couple boxes, a suitcase, and my violin. And if ever there’s a time where the energy of living with much, much less is present – it’s right now. As you begin decorating your dorm room, shopping for the fall season, or bringing back must haves from your end-of-summer vacation, remember the how’s and why’s of living with less:
You don’t need it. Seriously, as a former keeper and buyer of so many things, a year of having everything in storage showed me just how little you need. The new boots in a shade different than the ones you already have won’t make your school year that much better.
Create space. When you’re loading up your physical space with physical things, you jam up your energy while you’re at it. To be even more creative, loving, and inspired, you need a space that is clean, clear and spacious. You can’t do that if it’s loaded with stuff.
Save your dollars. All that money you spend on the sweaters, must have scarves and super expensive journals can be used for things that will develop you. Maybe a class in photoshop or a trip to Europe with your best friend. As someone who stood in front of tens of thousands of dollars in things I once thought that I had to have, only to give it all away…trust me.
Your identity is not your things. You will not be cooler, more fashionable or more loved because of what you own. Yes, there might be something here or there that means the world to you, but think twice about WHY you’re buying something before you do. And ask yourself – is this worth spending on or am I just filling a void inside that I don’t want to deal with?
In one. Out three. If you buy something… whether it’s a journal, a pair of shoes, or jewelry, get rid of three similar things that you own. This will get you gradually living with less and cause you to question if that one thing is worth three others to you.
6 month rule. This is probably all of our mom’s favorite rule. If you haven’t worn it in a year or six months, it has to go. No exceptions. No arguments. Pitch it. Give it away. The only way to get to less is by taking a deep breath and letting it go.
Wait a few weeks. I think we can all be impulsive. We MUST have that new desk set. Or love chair. Or bedding. But before you buy it, whether there’s a special or not, wait a few weeks. Let the impulse wear off. You’ll know if it’s something you really want if you can’t take your mind off of it.
How does it feel? As I stood in my 10×6’ storage unit with my entire life in boxes, I had no idea how I was going to get it down to just a few that I was letting myself keep. I was overwhelmed with how much crap I had, and judging myself for not wanting to let any of it go even though I hadn’t seen, touched, or needed it in a year. So, I just kept focusing on how the things felt. Did they bring me joy to look at them? Or just heaviness. Everything that was heavy went. It made purging so much easier to focus on that one question…how does it feel?
Living with less is powerful. It’s freeing. And it’s not easy (to get there). But once you do, you’ll feel your space open up to presence and love. And you’ll notice your buying habits take a turn for the intentional.