Category Archives: Possessions

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Fighting the Emotional Attachment to Your Stuff

The things you own can control you in a number of ways.  Some things may control you financially if you bought them on credit and you are having to make monthly payments, or if they are expensive to maintain.  Other … Continue reading

A Call for Change… Make 2011 the Year of Less

There comes a time when the people recognize the need for change.  The movement begins with a few pioneers brave enough to voice their dissatisfaction with the way things are now and who paint a picture of how things could be.  The movement grows as their voices resonate with the hearts of the people.

Such a call for change is echoing around the world.  Voices for change tell us that we can opt out of a culture which preaches that buying more will buy us happiness.  They tell us that a fulfilling life is not about who has the newest car, the biggest house, and the most toys, but that  fulfillment comes from truly caring for the possessions and people that surround us.   Instead of working more hours in jobs that penalize our creativity, these innovators show us how to turn our passions into our occupations.

Are the voices for change calling out to you?  Is it time to end the destructive pursuit of more possessions and to begin construction of a fulfilling, uncluttered life?  The path to your new life will be difficult, but trail blazers have forged ahead and cleared the way.

NOW IS THE TIME, TODAY IS THE DAY

It is time to make your Declaration of Independence from the consumer-driven, workaholic culture and join the movement to make 2011 the year of less.

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Official Proclamation, 2011 is the Year of Less

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a people to dissolve the ties that bind them to a life of bondage to their jobs, possessions and commitments, mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to separate from such way of life.  To support said separation, let the following facts be presented to a candid world.

  • Corporations and their marketing agencies have led the people to take the wrong path in the pursuit of happiness, a path leading to an excess of possessions and expanding home sizes to house these possessions.
  • These excesses have the people climbing over mountains of clutter and swimming in oceans of debt.
  • Governments encourage this excess consumer spending to stimulate their economies and raise tax revenue to pay on their insurmountable levels of debt.
  • The people have become trapped in jobs for which they have no passion, working too many hours in a day and too many years of their lives, to pay for things that they are told they need, but bring no happiness.
  • Work and obligations leave the people with little time and energy to do the things they love.

Knowing these facts to be true, we must separate ourselves from the pursuit of excess material possessions and free ourselves to live and work where and how we choose.  Therefore, we do solemnly publish and declare the year 2011 as The Year of Less.  In support of this proclamation, we, the undersigned, swear to Own Less, Buy Less, and Do Less in 2011 and the years beyond.

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Are you ready to break away from a life where you are owned by your possessions and debt?   Do you want the freedom to support yourself and your family doing work that you truly enjoy and love?  No matter your age or your current situation, it is possible  to change your life for the better.  There is a clear direction for the pursuit of happiness.  Take the first step today.  Sign the 2011, The Year of Less proclamation by leaving a comment stating your participation.   Share this post with your family, friends, and co-workers and give them the opportunity to join you on the journey to freedom and happiness.

Become a voice for change and sign the proclamation.

I Didn’t Want to Change the World, I Just Wanted to Change My Life

“You write in order to change the world…

the world changes according to the way people see it,

and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people

look at reality, then you can change it.” – James Baldwin

I didn’t set out to reduce carbon emissions.  Digging water wells in Ethiopia was not in my plans.  I’ve always done a little bit through my church and other charities to feed the poor, but it was never a mission in my life.  No one ever accused me of being a tree-hugger and I never really did a good job of recycling.  Like many people, I was more concerned with meeting my daily obligations:  got to pay the mortgage, make sure the kids have school clothes, keep two cars operating and have 100’s of channels to watch on our HDTV.

Over the last few years, I had lost enthusiasm for the field of work I had been involved in for over 25 years.  Credit card debt had piled up to the point that I was barely able to make the minimum payments each month.   A recent law forces card companies to inform you on your monthly statement how long it would take to pay your balance to zero making only minimum payments.  One card in which we carried a $5000 balance informed us that we would be customers of theirs for 22 years if we continued to make the minimum payment.  Can you imagine still paying for 2009’s Christmas presents in 2131?   It made me physically sick to face up to that prospect.

Something had to change or I would be working into my late 70’s just to get out of debt.  Those of you who have read my blog before know that my life changed the first time I visited Tammy Strobel’s blog, RowdyKittens.   She showed me that there were people in the world who were cleaning the clutter from their homes and lives.  People were reducing their expenses and paying off debt.  Pioneers were walking away from their day jobs and making a living with their laptops.  Nomads were traveling the country and the world without owning a car. Tammy’s work led me to the works of Leo Babauta, Everett Bogue, Eric LaForest, and Karol Gajda among others, and my life was forever changed.

Over the last few months, my life has changed dramatically.  I no longer have a full time job.  Over $12,000 in credit card debt has been paid and I am hoping to be totally debt free soon.  By the end of January, we plan to be clutter free.  By reducing our debt and expenses, I plan to be able to totally support myself and my wife by working online.  But what about changing the world?

Picture from Chris Guillebeau's Charity: Water in Ethiopia

The high unemployment rate is all over the news, but books like Passionate Living and You Don’t Need a Job, You Need Guts show us how we can make a living on the internet doing things we love.  These books show us it is possible to escape the traditional 9-5 and find security by turning your passion into your job.  This new way of working is changing the world.  Recently, a group of writers combined forces to offer over 1000 dollars of books for $97, with a portion of the proceeds going to Charity:Water, an organization supported by Chris Guillebeau and his Art of Non-Conformity book.  My purchase of these books will help build 5 new water wells in Ethiopia.

Although at this time I may not be a crusader for world change, I realize that everything I do can make some kind of change.  For now, I’m going to continue to work on changing my life.  I know that the things I do may supply clean water for a child, or something I write may change the life of one of my readers.  Every act and every word can change the world.

What are you doing to change the world?  Share your story with my readers below.

Mid-life Minimalism, Changing your Life After 50

Adopting a minimalist lifestyle when you are middle-aged presents some unique challenges.  My wife and I have over 30 years of experience acquiring possessions, and only about 3 months experience in reducing possessions.  Our home is filled with the memories of our children and now our grandchildren are adding new memories all the time.  Can you really part with that tote full of crayon drawings, Halloween and birthday pictures, and the homemade Valentine’s Day cards your kids so lovingly made?

Fortunately, you can choose how far you want to go in your minimalist journey.  I’ve been inspired by the stories of people like Tammy Strobel, Everett Bogue, and Karol Gajda who can fit their possessions in a backpack, travel the world while making a living from their laptop, or live in a 80 sq. ft. house on wheels.  However, these people are young and haven’t raised a family or spent 30 years working in corporate America; although Leo Babauta is living the lifestyle with six kids.  Those of us with more baggage to carry may opt for a smaller house or apartment and to stay in one place.  All of us have things that are easy to part with.   Start clearing these easy items from your house and you will find your home a more peaceful place to live.  Then listen to your heart and it will tell you how to handle the items which are harder to part with.  Many minimalists have set the goal of owning 100 things or less.  I have set the goal of only possessing those things that I use and/or love, whatever number of items that may be.

An Apple IIe with DuoDisk and Monitor //.

Image via Wikipedia

I was in high school before the first personal calculators came on the market and I was in my 30’s when I got my first computer, an Apple 2E.  Public access to the internet was still just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye.  These young bloggers have grown up alongside the computer and the internet.  Although we did not have the advantage of learning computer skills while we were young, we can certainly learn those skills from the young writers mentioned above.

Most minimalist writers share a common base.  They got rid of the unnecessary items cluttering their homes, simplified their lives, and reduced their expenses.  The lack of possessions gave them the freedom to easily change locations to where they wanted to be or to where an opportunity opened.  The simple lifestyle and reduced expenses allowed them to survive on little income until they were able to make a living doing what they love.  Many of them choose to make a living online through writing, teaching and consulting, and/or selling products that would help people live a happier, healthier life.  They share their expertise with us through their blogs and their books.  Since I also want to support myself by writing and helping others, I regularly read minimalist blogs and have purchased and read some very helpful guides to help me achieve my goal.  Please see my recommended reading page for titles that I personally have used.  Purchasing any of these books helps to support me as well as the authors.

Making a living from a laptop is not for everyone and you don’t have to start a blog.  Maybe your interest is woodworking or painting.  Simplifying your life and reducing your expenses may make it possible for you to turn your hobby into a living.  Take the money you make selling your stuff and the money you save reducing your expenses and apply it to your debt.  If you are debt free, then apply the money to starting the business that you are passionate about.  Soon you will be living the life of your dreams!

Share with me how you are trying to simplify your life!

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Thanks for your support. :)