Some of the happiest times in my life have been those periods when I was most unencumbered with STUFF. Living abroad, attending camp, traveling. Does anyone else feel this way? Any excuse to whittle down the daily necessities to the bare minimum just feels so reassuring to me. Decision making causes me a lot of anxiety. So, there’s immense comfort in knowing the less possessions you have the fewer decisions you have to make. If you only have one set of coffee cups, you use those coffee cups. Just 2 pairs of shoes? Guess what, it’s a coin toss. I think this is especially true for children. Kids get stressed too and I really believe that bombarding them with a bunch of toys causes just that–stress. In fact, I can strongly remember feeling tangible, physical relief when, at 10, my family moved to Vienna, Austria for the year and I just had…less. And my sister, who was 5, has mentioned feeling similarly. We were happy to have less so that we could live more. A philosophy I’ve tried, since drawing this connection time and time again, to actively adhere to.
A strong sense of calm comes over me when I can see all of someone’s belongings in one place, unobstructed. And it’s not just tiny homes. Many of my internet obsessions center around this idea of “less is more.” Capsule wardrobes, backpacking, ex-patriating. I’ve literally googled “a list of everything I own”…probably multiple times.
I fantasize about paring down my possessions to accommodate the tiny home lifestyle. I know I probably will never part with enough to live in a 8×10 home on wheels. But I hope I can continue on a simple living path. To waste less and buy used. To approach my purchases mindfully and treat the whole outdoors as my backyard. You can’t put a white picket fence around all of that. You CAN have an American Dream that involves having less. I love tiny homes because I can live vicariously through these people I see online who’ve achieved this version of the American Dream. I can ogle their homes and limited STUFF and vow to at least take lessons from the tiny home lifestyle.
For the next month, I will be putting a very simple simple-living rule into practice and letting y’all know how it goes.
One in. One out.
Meaning, for every thing I buy new I will give away or donate a similar item that I already have. If I buy a shirt, I must part with one. If I buy a book, I’ll pass one along to a friend I know would enjoy reading it more than I enjoy having shit on a shelf. I’m hoping this concrete rule will encourage considerate consumerism while allowing for some healthy decluttering. Yesterday I kicked off this challenge when I bought a drink dispenser (like this one. It’s for storing the spoils of my new adventures in cold brewing coffee at home…but more on that later) and a DOZEN mason jars. So, I got rid of a pitcher and a dozen cups…and then ended up throwing in 4 margarita glasses. Because who doesn’t want to have their margaritas in a mason jar? Heathens, that’s who!!!
I’ll keep you updated as things progress this month. Have you ever done a challenge like this? Would you? Let me know in the comments below! And follow me on Instagram @BBerg1012 for future “One in. One out.” documentation. Accountability, y’all. Let’s do this!
(Tiny home photos via Apartment Therapy, Curbly, Tiny House Talk, and Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens. All fantastic resources if you, like me, want to waste hours looking at tiny homes on the internet.)