Discovering a New Question to Ask

new-questions-to-ask

“We thought we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” – Bono

People sometimes ask, “How do you keep from wanting the stuff that everyone else has?” To be honest, I rarely struggle with that desire anymore. But when I do, I try to remember one thing:

Since deciding to live with fewer possessions, I have…

  • less clutter in my home.
  • less stress in my life.
  • more time for my family.
  • more generosity in my spending.
  • more money in my savings.
  • more energy for my passions.
  • more contentment in my heart.
  • more gratitude in my soul.
  • and far more opportunity to pursue things of greater worth.

And immediately, the desire begins to fade. As it does, a new question begins to emerge:

Why would I want what everyone else has when they all want what I already possess?

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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Comments

  1. says

    EXACTLY Peter Maurin’s point in his 1949 essay “The Case for Utopia:”
    “The world would be better off if people tried to become better.
    And people would become better if they stopped trying to become better off.”
    You are on to something grand, Josh!

  2. Crystal says

    I just wanted to thank you for your blog and ministry. We have been on our “living with less” journey this year and we still have a ways to go, but we are already enjoying the benefits. We have carted out SO MUCH STUFF it’s kind of embarrassing, but yet, so enjoyable at the same time. I’m sure the neighbors think we’ve lost it somewhere along the line, but that’s okay. :)

    We have five small children and – WOW – what a difference it makes when you have only what you need, instead of all this stuff that you’re “supposed” to have when you have kids. We really don’t need all those clothes, or toys, or shoes.

    We would have never even heard of the word “minimalist” or even known of such a thing if I hadn’t stumbled on your blog a year ago.

    So I wanted to thank you! You are an inspiration to my husband and I. When I read this post, I smiled because we just had this conversation – we don’t even WANT what others have anymore. More things, more stress, more pain, more worry – who wants that?

    You are a blessing!!

    Keith and Crystal

    • says

      Such an encouraging comment Crystal! I really appreciate you taking the time to leave it.

      I’m with you about the embarrassment of the amount of stuff we own. I typically say, “It’s one thing to take one trip to Goodwill or even two. But by about the fourth or fifth trip, I started asking myself some serious questions about why I bought all this stuff in the first place.” Best of luck on the rest of your journey.

  3. Daniel says

    Coincidence or Not, today I reflected about this matter and I had some kind of revelation.
    Why do I need a big wage if I can’t utilize the items you listed?
    It’s better to have the listed items than lots of material stuff.

    I seldom comment on blogs, but I’d like to congratulate you on the posts in this blog.
    Nice work.

  4. Zen Presence says

    I have found my life much more meaningful after downsizing as well. I do have to recommit occasionally. Remind myself of the hidden costs of too much stuff.

  5. Christopher Zenner says

    Thank you for another delightful and scintillating post, Joshua. You truly have a gift for the written word as well as words of inspiration. There isn’t a single time I walk away from your blog that I’m not convicted and inspired. Your words convey an authenticity that is rare in our modern age; so many people are hiding behind “things,” status, and distractions. I also admire your humble spirit. You encourage other writers who pursue the topic of simplicity and minimalism. In doing so, you contribute to a beautiful patchwork quilt of inspiration and experience. In addition, I’m deeply grateful for the links to other resources you offer, for I have been blessed by them as well. There are scarce few men to whose character I aspire, but you are definitely one of them. Again, thank you.

  6. says

    I have a very large closet full of clothing, and tubs and tubs of more clothes and shoes. Last year in October I decided that it was ridiculous that I would have so much of something, yet still want more. There was no satisfaction. I’d walk into my closet every day and say to myself “What am I going to wear?” or “I have nothing to wear!” I decided that month that I would no longer buy any clothes or shoes for an entire year. It was such a lofty goal at the time! I couldn’t fathom how I’d get through a summer without buying any trendy new dresses or skirts. How would I survive the winter with last years style of boots? It seemed almost impossible, laughable. BUT, I am a strong person. I set my goal, and had every intention of succeeding. And I did. Its been allllllmost an entire year.

    Now….I don’t want to buy any clothes. I have so much already, and I’ve already given, sold, donated, and thrown away so much! Now I look in my closet and think “Look at all these clothes I don’t wear!” Such a transformation!

    I have been working on minimizing for years. Its something my boyfriend has taken much longer to get used to. In January of 2013, we’re getting rid of most of our possesions and taking only what can fit into a van with us. We’re traveling across America. We’re minimizing every single aspect of our lives.

    Less material, more experience. More love.

    Thanks for this awesome blog! I’ve been reading for some time, but I do believe this is my first comment. :)

    • Michelle says

      This is awesome! Clothing is the only area in which I have not applied minimalism. While packing for a 3 week trip, the enormous selection was overwhelming. So, I challenged myself to pack a small bag and lo and behold, I had exactly enough clothing. I wore items many times and the earth did not stop spinning! haha. I now have on my list for this weekend to finally take those unworn clothes and donate them to someone who can use them! My goal is to at least have all four seasons of clothing condensed into ONE closet and ONE dresser. Down from three closets, two dressers and two cedar chests. Thank you for the motivation.

  7. says

    Go further……

    why own a house? hy own anything that you do not need?
    as of august 2011 I lived on a shoestring, travelling & living in Asia beside the person I love.
    Before, I worked for 25 years almost 7/7 and in the end, I wasn’t happy. i owned 3 houses… and all I got in return were worries to pay theses houses off & keep all 3 houses & gardens in order.
    Now, I live with my laptop, I ‘ve started an internet business and I have time for the people I love.

    • Christopher Zenner says

      That’s where I’m at, Luc, though, at 40 years of age, I have _never_ owned a house. I never saw the point. Of course, I might have felt different if I had had children. I just don’t see the point of a single person or even a childless couple purchasing a house. As the cliché goes, “Home is where the heart is,” and that can be a 3,000 sq. ft. domicile that one slaves away for at least 15 years to pay off or a 400 sq. ft. apartment. The latter allows so much more freedom.

      I’m also questioning car ownership. Currently, I have an automobile. And, like homeowners, I’m indebted to the bank, much to my chagrin. I live in a city in which public transportation is fairly ubiquitous and frequent. I’ve also recently discovered a car rental service, ZipCar, that allows one to rent various types of vehicles by the hour or by the day. Insurance and gas are included. You pay a small annual fee to belong to ZipCar as well as rental fees when you actually need a vehicle. Between public transportation, ZipCar, and a bicycle, there isn’t really anywhere I couldn’t go. What’s more, that “cocktail” will permit me to live lightly on the Earth, allow me to realize an enormous savings on my monthly expenditures, and provide exercise that contributes to my physicial health. So, why be enslaved to the bank and contribute to greenhouse gases?

      I’m at the point where I own a bed, a closet full of clothes, and about 20 Bankers Boxes of “stuff.” Even that is driving me crazy. I know I definitely don’t wear everything in my closet. And, I certainly don’t require all the books I have, most of which I’ve never read–especially with the proliferation of eReaders and tablets. I’ve just realized that there is so little I really _need_ in order to survive, and honestly, I don’t even want much. What do you call this? I suppose some would see it as extreme minimalism or even fanatical minimalism. It just seems the logical next step in the journey to me.

  8. julie hogben says

    Why is it that each time I read one of your blogs I have the intense desire to empty a drawer, clear out a cupboard, be more ruthless about “stuff”! Thanks for inspiring me as I walk this path of discovering simplicity and minimilsm day by day!

  9. Cheryl says

    Your posts in my Facebook newsfeed is my “pause” in a sea of better offs. Thanks for the nudge to steer me back to the life I really want! :)

  10. Paula says

    Great posting! and the comments are very heartfelt as well. I hope the we all someday realize that it really is far more fulfilling to live a life with less “things”, less possessions and less worries.

  11. Sarah T. says

    A breath of fresh air in the midst of a cluttered culture. Thank you. I love the new question; I am blessed beyond measure in regard to my spouse, family, friends, and even material possessions. There is sometimes this inner battle waging: at the same time I can be content with how much I have, be frustrated that there is still too much, and also desire more (read: different). Yet true contentment can be just as elusive even once you’ve pared down, if your priorities aren’t in the right place. Thank you for your continual encouragement in regard to these priorities.

    I’ve also been so thrilled to be receiving your newsletters. I truly look forward to reading the content and links every other week.

  12. says

    I have even taken to minimizing my oversized, overconsumed body. Another way in which we often overindulge. I no longer need multiple sizes of clothing.

    You are a constant source of inspiration to me. I am traveling a lighter path and loving every minute of it. I have a 4 day weekend coming up in Vegas and I want to take only my purse and a normal size backpack! I will do it and have only my one carry on! More time to have fun and less waiting and praying for luggage to show up!

  13. Lori says

    We’re in the process of moving (just across town) and it’s been a real catalyst for my minimalist journey. I’ve gladly eliminated a lot of my own unnecessary possessions, “keepsakes” kids art (I love the idea of just taking a photo of it!). My husband, on the other hand, is a packrat and it’s become even more painfully evident as we move. We’re seeing a councilor about it and I’m emboldened by his professional support and how good it feels to lighten our load, literally. The councelor agreed with me that the huge stack of unwatched yard-sale-find VHS tapes is “clutter” since virtually every movie is accessable on the internet these days. It’s SO freeing! It’s a tough thing when your spouse is a hoarder, it takes gentleness but firmness, and outside help at times, if they’re willing to admit there’s a problem. Got your book from Amazon yesterday. We just started reading it together with our 13 year old son.

  14. says

    Hey Joshua, I’ve been trying to get rid of as much clutter in my life as possible, and I’ve found the same thing as you, the less stuff I have the more time I have for other things. I’m going to be moving in a year and I plan to give alot of the stuff I don’t use to charity and people I know who will appreciate it. Awesome post, I look forward to reading more of your work.

  15. Mareees says

    my question is: how do I help my kids to NOT want what their friends have? especially since school has just started and their friends all have New back to school clothes and shoes, they want to have new stuff too… and I know that when they get older, their friends will have designer stuff, or cell phones, and they will be tempted in wanting these unnecessary things… how do I keep them from wanting what their friends have?

    • says

      Hi Mareees, I know I’m not Josh, but I feel like I was a teenager fairly recently (I’m 27 now). Here’s what I remember about those days. I felt like the ONLY kid who didn’t have a pair of those inflatable sneakers. They were so cool! They would make me jump higher! I’d run faster! My life would get so much better if only I had those shoes!

      And so, my mother bought them for me. I still got bullied. I was still un-athletic. I was still a weird, weird kid, and now I was a weird kid with inflatable sneakers.

      It took me a few tries to learn that lesson, but eventually it stuck – nothing I could buy (or have Mom buy) would bring me the happiness I wanted. Happiness has to be cultivated from the inside.

  16. says

    Josh:
    You’ve said a lot of very powerful things in all the I’ve read of yours. This post is the one that was most powerful for me. Wow! So simple. So clear. So true.
    Thank you.
    Best regards,
    David

  17. says

    And think of all the thing society — even employers expect us to have! Two things come to mind. We are told we must have smart phones — and these things are loaded with shopping apps. We *must* be on Facebook — which is totally oriented to marketing to us. It also creates envy. Follow the simple path and you are not only less distracted. You also don’t want everything you see. Hannibal Lechtor said it best when telling Clarisse that we covet the things we can see.

  18. Jen says

    I really enjoy your blog. It is really the only one I take the time to read. I was just sitting here after reading your blog and turned to the book I’m reading called “The Singer”. I think you would enjoy it. You may have already heard of it. It is a mythic retelling of the story of the New Testament. Hear is a quote: ” ‘How did you manage to make them cherish all this nothingness?’ he (the singer) asked the World Hater. ‘I simply make them fell embarrassed to admit that they are incomplete. A man would rather close his eyes than see himself as your Father-Spirit does. I teach them to exalt their emptyness and thus preserve the dignity of man.’ ” It is really beautiful and I’m not really one for poetry.

  19. says

    For me, the new question is “What can I do with all the time that I’m not using for shopping, watching TV, or eating processed restaurant meals?” Surely I’m not saving all this time and money (and adding health back to my life) just to hoard it for myself, right?

  20. Erwynn says

    I spent the better part of a year working on a resolution to buy used, make, borrow, or do without. I spent so little time in stores that year that I actually got dizzy when I went into a Fry’s several months into it. I didn’t want any of it, and I couldn’t believe how much there was. It’s overwhelming. We’re just desensitized to it and think a crazy amount of stuff and desire for it is normal.

  21. Stefanie says

    The other day I was in a shop with my husband and they had the xmas decoration out for sale. As I went through the shelves, I told my husband “just let me take a quick look of what I don’t need!” and it felt so right. I look at the advertisement and think, I don’t need this or that. Its a great feeling.
    But then I feel bad when I do buy something, but on the other hand we didn’t had what we just bought and the quality on that was good and I will wear it a couple of winters, not like the compromise I did which was broke after just two seasons.

  22. says

    This is such good advice… Another question I ask is “does EVERYone else really have this stuff?” Most often not- its the media and consumerism culture that wants to make us believe everyone has it. For instance, how many people REALLY live like those portrayed in the HGTV home remodel, make over or hunter programs? A very small percentage… and my next question is for those that do have “all that stuff”- how is it making their life easier, more enjoyable or more fulfilling?

    “Keeping up with the Joneses” is rarely if ever an issue for me… I just don’t aspire to material greatness. Now if the Joneses were traveling the world and experiencing and living among various cultures – I may be a bit longing for that “stuff”- but that is the stuff of experience- not material.

  23. Jo says

    I finally realized one day that I bought a lot of stuff off the clearance rack at work just to make myself feel better. Not that I needed any of the two dollar items. Now I only buy things if I actually have a need and know where the items will go in my house.

  24. Brandy says

    So, I’ve been struggling with this for some time. We have a small, modest home, but our mortgage is a lot (CA). We’ve thought of downsizing, but nothing really to downsize to. Do NOT want to rent. Here’s my big issue. My husband and I are artists and are creative. Between the guitar equipment, crafting supplies, wood working tools, left over supplies from projects past….we do have a lot of stuff. So, yeah, get rid of unnecessary stuff. But what do you do when the stuff feeds your creative spirit? Also, I love to decorate. I’m not into materialism, but I do love to make my surroundings aesthetically pleasing. I can’t just turn that off. I’m a big bargain hunter. I rarely buy new. Craigslist and the Goodwill are my retailers of choice. So I’ve been struggling to find balance for quite some time. I certainly wish I could work less, but 2 teacher salaries make that impossible.

    • Thera says

      First off, great post, thank you.
      I felt compelled to reply to Brandy and hope I do not come off as offensive.
      I too am an artist and I love love love interior decorating and Kijiji and Value Village are my retailers of choice, so we have a lot in common.
      Here is what I have found over the past 40 years….
      Though I love decorating and how our home feels for a week or two, I then feel like I can’t breath. My solution, RRS feeds, Pinterest and even The Sims 3,. I can read, fantasize about and even recreate every interior I have ever dreamed of, without adding a smidge of extra to our lives.
      As for the craft supplies, I applied the “if there was a fire what would I grab” principal. My watercolour paints, a few brushes, paper and some odds and ends (eraser, shapener, sponge), that fit in my sketching case. The rest I simply do not need and it helps me focus on the subject and really brings my personal style to the fore front.
      As for all the left overs, if they are usable, I donate them to schools or the local Scouts, neither of which ever have enough supplies, especially for creativity.
      Now for the sticky point, why on earth could you not live on one teachers salary?
      Perhaps I am simply ignorant, as I do not know how much that is, but hubby, I and three children, rent our home and own one vehical on $45,000.00 a year.

      • Brandy says

        Well, my crafting supplies, hubbies supplies, and home project stuff is not so easily reduced. I love having the freedom to create and have what I need. I don’t have a problem with purging on the whole. As far as salary, my hubby brings home $3700/month. After paying our mortgage, we wouldn’t even have enough left over to buy food. We don’t have a car payment, never have, but I am still paying student loans. There are some bills we could get rid of if necessary, but it wouldn’t save enough for me to work less.

  25. Karin says

    Love the quote by Bono. We do have the answers to living a more meaningful and purposeful life. It’s through minimalism. Not, “what stuff do I need to live a better life?” That’s the wrong question, but our society would like us to think that! It’s easy to fall into this trap and through awareness I am growing and changing toward minimalism.

  26. Christina Judd says

    It is so refreshing to read this blog and all of the comments. What an exhausting culture we live in today. I feel like I am always trying to “protect myself” from commercialism and a busy schedule. My new hobby is simplifying my life. I have 2 year old twin and I certainly don’t want them raised to believe lies. They are enough with less. I am a stay-at-home and will do whatever it takes to be home if our income was cut for some reason. Sell a car, rent, live in a yurt (lol), the whole idea that it must take 2 people to survive, not even thrive, makes me mad. So each day I find ways to simple and connect more. I allowed myself to be lured into captializing on the market and purchasing a $250,000 foreclosed house that was $400,000 a year earlier. Bad mistake. It is too big, too much yard work, too expensive to pay someone to clean, to high ceilings so it echos and is stressful to talk over the noise, fearful of losing it, our family is too spread out, it just goes on and on. It is on the market for sale and I am ever-anxious to leave. Every day I read your blog I grow more desperate for something less to live in and more time doing things that are important to me and my family. So I can relate to not wanting what others have. I look for a small but comfortable home, not the biggest thing for the cheapest price because there are hidden costs. We live and learn. I’m grateful for my experience because I know now more of the truth, but I’m ready for less! You are so inspiring, Joshua, thank you for your venture to help the rest of us along to a more meaningful existence! Our time is so short here and I don’t want to waste any more of it. May God bless continue to bless you richly and allow you to be blessing to others!

  27. says

    When my friends can’t figure out why I don’t hold on to everything, just because or to have an eventual garage sale, I try to tell them this. I don’t care about the $100 I’d make by working my buns off to sell my old stuff. I just want it gone :)

    • Astrid says

      I came to the same conclusion, Christa,

      I went to set up stall at rummage sales for 2 years, and husband was happy to help me out. The theory was: the stuff is still worth some money, and we can use the money.

      But, in the end, after a few choice items went for nice sums, the rest is all nickle and dime. It doesn’t add up, for the amount of effort. The whole sunday is spent, and saturday evening preparing, and sometimes the rummage organisers make mistakes on PR, so barely anyone shows up. One time we had the biggest snow storm in the country for years and years, on Saturday evening. No one showed up. Half the standholders didn’t even show up for that one.

      And it turned out that I made the same amount of money, no matter if it was a good day or a bad day. And it was always around the €25 ($40?) of profit over the payment for the stall. Sometimes even less.

      That’s a whole day’s work for 2 people. It didn’t add up any more. We enjoyed the experience, and after a while I saw a pattern. Then we didn’t enjoy the experience anymore, as it was clear it wasn’t going anywhere. I saw my husband wanted to support me in whatever I wanted or needed to do, and realised: this is not what I want to spend his love and goodwill on!

      So I phoned up a charity shop and had them pick up all our boxes of carefully packed goods. Just everything.

      Then I was tempted to save up another load as I was (still) decluttering, and when I realised I was doing, I phoned up the charity again. Please come get my stuff.

      Quite frankly, the 60 seconds of happiness on the faces of the charity store owners was worth a lot more than the hours of sitting in cold Sports Halls, trying to sell stuff to relatively disinterested people. I’d rather just put a smile on someone’s face, and not have to worry about the STUFF anymore.

      I want the stuff to go OUT. I don’t want it to linger around here. So I will never do it again.

      I have a space in the hallway for Stuff To Go Out, and as I declutter areas, they get put there. There’s also trash to go out, etc, of course. But the good stuff goes to charity, and I feel so good when I see big bags and boxes full of stuff going in for a second life somewhere, perhaps letting the charity make some money to do some good with, or at least employ people in their shops who otherwise wouldn’t have had employment. Yes. This is good. I feel part of the chain that helps people, rather than trying to get a little for great mounts of effort. I believe I’m in the plus on the equation there.

      I’ve learned my lesson. Even if it’s really good stuff, I’ll give it away, and fairly quickly too. If it’s actually valuable – bike, console game, large stack of DVDs – I’ll list on an online bullitin board. If it doesn’t sell within a certain period, I will still give it away.

      I’m not a minimalist, but I do like to declutter, and I really don’t want to buy things anymore that I don’t need. I am still defining ‘need’. As it gets clearer, I get clearer on which things help to make life easier, better and comfortable.

      Just plain having more stuff clearly isn’t it.

  28. Christina Judd says

    A follow-up to my recent comment:
    A potential buyer looked at my house today which is on the market for sale and the feed-back that my realtor received from theirs was the question, “Are they in the middle of moving. There’s so little in the house or on the walls.” I must be doing something right on this journey of less! The truth is that I haven’t moved a thing, I just don’t have stuff everywhere or collect one of everything, or have junk drawers, or 26 pairs of shoes, etc. My home is decorated so that everything has a purpose or a particular love, is practical, and peaceful to move about. Thank you again, Joshua!

  29. Donna says

    The first time my BF called me a minimalist I looked at him weird. But after looking around the house and closets I realized that he was right…. I had never labeled myself before but I knew that I hated clutter and too much furniture in a room makes me ‘crazy’. I was so happy to find your website because I can come here and feel at ‘home';believe it or not I have been ridiculed by my own family… Thank you!

  30. Charis says

    I live in an 18 ft travel trailer so I don’t possess many physical books. However, I bought your book Living with Less and loved it. I shared the original book I had and never got it back. I bought 2 more, hoping to keep one and have one to loan out. That didn’t work either and I again find myself with no book. Irritating to be sure, but I realized that I already live small (although I feel like I need to get rid of more), and maybe whoever has my books will have a revelation and realize they don’t need all the stuff they have. And maybe, they will pass on the books to others who may need it more.

  31. says

    Thank you Joshua Becker! I listen to every podcast that you’re on. I am working hard to let go of more and more stuff. I love to let it go. I love to share it with others who might enjoy it. I’ve always been an emotional keeper of things but little by little, I realize that it’s freeing to let go and savor the memories. Much of what I’ve hung on to has made me feel heavy because I was hanging on because I felt guilty to let go.

    Now my perspective has changed. I want to be filled with the memories much more than the stuff. I feel lighter and more peaceful in our home with every load I remove. I’ve always lived a life of holding on. I know it’s from early losses in life. I like nice things yet I’d rather have less and honor what I do keep. It’s all just stuff. My husband and I have always worked at staying real and teaching our kids that happiness is about our insides and the people in our life.

    Still, everyday we’re all teased by the flash. Our Connecticut teenagers see the other kids’ stuff and it all looks so good…we’ve always tried to teach them not to compare our insides with others’ outsides. They see it all, they understand us but it takes some maturity to get our lessons. We can only pray that we are a power of example.
    They’ve seen and heard from us that, at the end of the day, all that matters is faith, compassion, the love of family, friends and treasuring time together. Our best family times are not about the money spent but the abundance of goodness and loving people in our lives. What great gifts.

    Appreciating and being grateful for the abundance in our lives makes it easier for me to let go and when I let go of more stuff, I’m amazed to see it allows more gifts in! It can’t be a coincidence that whenever I clear out stuff, money comes to me as if the universe is saying, thanks for making room for me! That’s an added bonus….and this is only the beginning of my journey!

    Thank you. You speak so honestly and candidly, you make it easier for a Connecticut woman who’s lived a life with some feelings of scarcity and compensated by shopping and buying stuff. It’s I learn as I go…and I’m expecting my husband and teens to follow….truth be told, most of our accumulation has been thanks to me! So THANK YOU!!!

  32. sarah says

    I love your blog, it’s very motivational and it makes me happier to think it is possible to live a simpler life. I am only 23 years old but I am sick of clutter and because I have moved house 5-6 times since I left home when i was 18 I am fed up with keep packing it all up.

    Since the first time I left home I chucked things, donated to charities, recycled, but I still kept objects that I wanted.

    Each time I moved I was ruthless and chucked away items.

    Today in order to save money (recently started running my own pet business as a full time job with minimal funds) I will be ruthlessly getting rid of everything except for one box full of sentimental items, one box of clothing & 1 box of toys (I am sending them to sick children on Post Pals & for children in emergencies). To make this happen I had to lie to the man I rent the locker off of telling him I am unemployed in order to get him end the contract early, that way i could save money, not stress about money and stop renting a massive container of items, that to be honest, i can’t even remember whats in there!

    I will be selling a few things in order to have some money back up behind me but 95% of my belongings are going. Even a bed thats brand new is going for free. I currently dont have a “home” but my boyfriend has put a roof over my head so I am no longer in need of my own bed.

    I am excited to start getting rid of things and feel more laid back with life.

    I am 23 years old and all I will own is :my laptop, my bicycle, 1 box of clothes, about 5 books and about 5-6 sentimental things.
    I am happy with that.

    I dont keep up with the latest fashions & dont need technology. I am free spirit.

    It’s good to start young, this will set me up for a better future.

  33. Linda Fletcher says

    I, too, am on the quest to live with less. Currently I have no ‘home’ or car. I do have a small storage shed half a country away full of things I don’t need or want. I am living out of a suitcase and travel with my little dog, Yoda. I have more freedom and contentment in my life than I ever thought possible! When I began this journey I had no idea that there was a ‘movement’ going on, but this makes me so happy and grateful for people like you who so eloquently spread the word. I am one of your biggest fans! Keep up the good work! Thank you for all you do!

  34. Darlene Ramos says

    You had me awhile back at minimalizing, simplifying, bettering…and while much of the road trip to that destination is reached through a lessening of possessions, an experience just yesterday sent a surge of power to a “light bulb” moment for me. For awhile yesterday, my life partner (husband of forty years) went missing….never happened before, was totally out of character and even he was floored by the circumstances that brought about this span of time he couldn’t reach me, touch base, let me know he was safe. Wasn’t a long time, but enough to panic his family and for us to imagine our lives without him. He has worked hard for many years to provide us with an idyllic life, a life far from the madding crowd but filled with the presence of God and not many presents from the mall. We enjoy a life of abundance in all that matters, in a rural setting every bit as elysian as the one accompanying this entry. But going through this yesterday brought home to me the realization that even most magnificent status of contentment can’t hold its own when matters of the heart (and surely not possessions) come into play. I’m stating the obvious, but as for anyone else it takes a “light bulb” moment sometimes to really soak in this truth. Thankfully my husband was also “brought home” to me, and for now I’m thinking, yes, sure–let’s retain this romance with “less is plenty,” but with God’s continued grace let it NOT be with less of the people we love!!

  35. Gina Harris says

    In my book ‘Life Coaching: Connecting you to your inner wisdom’ I quote these two stories:

    The philosopher Diogenes was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably be flattering the king. “If you learnt to be subservient to the king, you would not have to live on lentils.” Diogenes answered, “And if you learnt to live on lentils, you wouldn’t have to grovel to the king.”

    The philospher Socrates didn’t even wear shoes, yet he often visited the market and would spend some time looking at all the goods for sale. When one of his friends asked why, Socrates said, “I love to go there and discover all the things I’m perfectly happy without.”

    Thanks for great ideas, Joshua!

  36. says

    Hi Josh – I’ve only just discovered your Facebook page this week – and I’m getting a lot out of reading your posts.
    Thanks!
    Ken
    Adelaide, South Australia

  37. says

    Simply excellent.
    Our goal since July has been to reduce 80% of all we own.
    It’s been a busy summer. ;)
    We are so excited about this new life. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  38. sarah says

    Since my last post on the 29th Aug 2014, just 4 days ago I have finally cleared out my locker and man it was hard work. It was emotional and very hard at times but my partner helped me lots through it even allowing me to keep a few things I felt i couldnt chuck or give away yet.

    In the end I gave away a free bed, a desk, 4 cd racks. I filled a black sack full of toys for the sick children I am sending to.

    I took 4 full black bags to the bin and 4 full black bags to the charity shop. 2x bags went to the carboot sale my friend is doing (well might as well try to earn a small fortune if i can but only to save up not spend).

    I remember finding it so hard to chuck things away but now i am recking my brains trying to figure out what it was i did chuck away and i honestly can’t remember so obviously they WERE of no use or not that special as i thought when i was chucking them. That amazed me!

    In the end i came home with a my “memory box”, a box with a few things giving to me as a baby, 6 books from my favourite authors, about 4-5 gifts my partner has given me, my ty beanies collection (working on cutting it down, managed to give about 5 away!), paperwork and some small things like hair curlers etc.

    A few days later I saw the post you posted on facebook saying ” Just because something made you happy in the past that doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever”, literally once I saw that I went to my “memory box” sifted through it and managed to get rid of half what was inside…because..it IS my past and im making way for the future. I only kept things that I would one day, if I have kids, would like to share with them, show them, give to them etc. Like a few items my nan handed down to me, my tiara from my first prom, band items such as old tickets, laynards, fabric bands etc that are from my partners gigs with his band if he because if it does well and it turns into his career then it would be something sentimental and special to them.

    I also emptied another box in our room we had of my stuff, somehow I managed to chuck half of it away and also managed to fit what i wanted to keep in that one box i had.

    Every few days I tackle the box and see if i changed my mind about items. Like what happened 2 days after leaving my locker, 1 bear i really couldnt bear to part with was all of a sudden so much easier to part with and i realised I didnt need it!

    It’s also brought me closer to my partner, he’s the opposite to me, he saves, he only buys really what he needs or for his career choice, finds it not so hard to get rid of things…It made me realise I am a bit of a hoarder. Having him with me through the whole process which I must add I only had 3 days to empty the locker brought us closer, we had more mutual respect and understanding and it made me see whats more important in my life, him being one of them!

    P.s the other day I was very surprised. We have been thinking about saving for a place of our own for quite a while now and before I wanted a place like my old family home, 4 bedrooms etc but for the last 4 years iv been living in a 2 bedroom ground flat. Since reading the comments from other viewers & my experiences in this flat i thought a small flat would suit us just find. I mentioned it to him and expected him to say no as I remembered once he said he wished for a nicer home as his place is a bit of a rough area and in a noisy flat, but in fact he turned to me and said ” I would be happy with that, I want something, you know small with just a bedroom, kitchen etc. As long as it keeps us warm, no bugs, have things that work, I am happy with that”….And you know what? I am bloody happy with that too :)

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. How to Be a Giving Tree - SASM 058 | September 22, 2014

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