What Can Be Trimmed From My Life?

Let’s TED Talk

At the beginning of 2015 I cleaned out a lot of my belongings. This was mainly inspired by me moving and I wanted to move into much smaller accommodation. But even then I could have used a storage locker to store my belongings. The other reason for the clean-out is tied to the following TED Talk by Graham Hill. Check out the talk, it’s really good:

Graham Hill – Less stuff, more happiness
TED2011 – 5:49 mins

My clean-out included the following things:

  1. Things that I had forgotten that I owned or that I hadn’t used in over 2 years, and in all probability wasn’t going to start using, eg. old papers and books.
  2. “Bad decision” things that I would not use any more, eg. poor choice fashion clothes, misguided DVDs, and CDs that I had artistic differences.
  3. If I were honest with myself, stuff that I just don’t need. I am 1 person and there is a limit to the amount of plates, cutlery, towels, travel bags, and container boxes that 1 person needs. These are a waste of space and I don’t need them.
  4. Things that are a waste of my time.

Wasting Time & Space

From the list above, #1 and #2 were done pretty easily. But #3 and #4 were more brutal. This is mainly because they required an evaluation of what is really important. To get rid of things I had to be stricter with myself. To be honest it came down to one question:

Was playing the XBox a valuable use of my time?

The answer was no.

Attachment, Desire

When I was doing the clean out, I saw how ridiculous it all was because it goes against the following Buddhist principles:

  • Reduce Desire To Material Possessions: Not desiring possessions and accumulating more and more stuff.
  • Reduce Attachment: Not being attached to possessions.
  • Practice Generosity: Being able to giving material possessions.

Principles of reducing desire and attachment, and practising generosity are hardly esoteric Buddhist practices!! I did feel a bit like a phony while going through this process. But I got to enjoy the generosity of giving away my things to friends who wanted things and the rest went to various charity stores.

Sitting Here

Now I’m living in my new, much smaller place. I’m paying less rent and I have less clutter in my life. Compared to the last time that I moved, the move itself was much easier and faster. When I threw out a lot of stuff I realised that I was paying too much on my insurance policy.

In some ways I wish that I had done it much sooner.