Living With Less Stuff
A recent article published in the New York Times, “Living With Less. A Lot Less” talked about how one man became so overcome with acquiring more and more things he eventually became ‘numb’ to what he was even purchasing. The things that used to excite him, like the latest gadgets to expensive cars, no longer had the same effect. The stress had become so much that he eventually came to the point where he just had to get rid of it all. Now he lives in a 420 square foot apartment, owns six shirts, and sleeps in a bed that folds down from the wall. And he’s never been happier, saying “My space is small. My life is big.”
From television to magazines, Twitter to YouTube, we’re told that ‘things’ will make us happier, smarter, better looking, and more valued as human beings. In reality it does just the opposite. Like the article said, we get so lost in the cycle of working and buying, that we lose track of what’s really important.
And it’s starting at a young age. We now see toddlers with iPads, 8 years olds asking for cell phones, and playrooms stuffed with enough toys to fill a store. So how do we break the pattern and teach our kids to consume less and live more?
The first step: turn off technology. This includes you as well! No cell phones, no handheld devices, no video games. Plug out and plug into what’s going on around you. The hot summer weather means it’s the perfect time to head outdoors and take advantage of Mother Nature. It doesn’t have to be expensive or mean you have to travel hours somewhere, just take a walk around the neighbourhood, or find a local park and spend an hour letting loose.
Get involved in sports and community events. Visit your local city website to see all of the events, camps, and workshops your kids can attend this summer. They’ll be able to develop life skills like team building as well as meet other kids in the community.
Back to basics. Make TV and video games a special time, or ‘treat’ for the kids to use. Put a limit on how long they can spend online. And if they’re not using it, neither should you. Play a board game, read books, and make dinner or bake cookies together. It’s simple, but it will zone them out of ‘stuff’ and into quality time spent with the family.<
Clear it out. Get rid of the clutter. Make it a family project to remove as many things you don’t need or use. A simple rule is if you haven’t used, seen, or done anything with it in the past year, it’s time to throw it out. Come by our drop-off facility and recycle the goods, we’re open 7 days a week. You’ll be amazed at how many things you can actually recycle, like old appliances, computers, batteries and even light fixtures.
What are your tips for having less, and living more?