So MSOL has been doing this Simplifive challenge, and I’ve been doing thinking. It’s a worthy concept we’re discussing: streamlining, condensing, or otherwise reducing our possessions to things that we really need or use versus keeping everything we’ve ever owned—and we’re starting by liquidating five things we don’t use.
The issue with consumers, like dieters, is that we’ll regress back to the norm once the buzz has worn off; i.e., buying more things and hanging on to them, or only throwing out the five things and forgetting about everything else–it’s just a fad.
I lived in Guatemala for two years and had to seriously weigh (both for luggage fees and practicality) what I’d take and use during that time: obviously I took only the sexiest clothes and shoes, along with essentials like my laptop and deodorant and whatnot, as I could buy what I needed once I arrived. However, I knew I wouldn’t be bringing everything I bought back to the US with me when I returned. Thus, my purchases were to meet my immediate needs (food, souvenirs, bus tickets, food, soap, and cooking and eating materials/food) and not long-term necessities (microwave).
Since I’ve been back, I’m trying to align my US lifestyle with the one I was forced to accept abroad. It’s not easy. I want to spend my money on the same things everyone else does. I want to keep up. I want to fit in and indulge myself in trends. But I can’t shake the effectiveness or practicality of the Simplified lifestyle. Taking stock of the things I have in boxes (books I won’t read again), clothes I haven’t worn in a while, or even sentimental things like old birthday cards (I have no feelings!) or unusable (broken) gifts exemplifies the hoarder or “collector” tendencies which obliquely endorse the consumerism I (and others) have grown weary of. It’s tough.
However, a handful of our generation is exploring the ethos of simple living and moving from the accumulation of goods towards a more minimalist lifestyle. Whether or not we can sustain it is yet to be seen. Think of Simplifive as a free trial period, and sign up to start the Dissolution Revolution if you like the service.