Getting Rid of Stuff to Live a Minimalistic Lifestyle

Footprint on Beach on Dog Island Florida

Footprint on Beach on Dog Island Florida


We are starting to get busy going through our things trying to get rid of clutter and determine how much stuff we really need. It is sometimes difficult to balance sentimentality and pragmatism but we are doing pretty well. It is liberating to get rid of clutter. I mean do I really need ten-year-old computer manuals? I also took a chance and got rid of old diskettes, CD ROMs and “Zip” discs with cryptic things written like on them like “stuff” or “backup”. Old PC cables and such are being donated to a high school IT department; I must have 30 pounds of them. Five-year-old printers, ten-year-old CPUs, and CRT monitors go to Tyler Recycling. Old golf clubs, tennis rackets (do I really need SIX) and kitchen appliances go to Goodwill. Most of our old clothes are going to Salvation Army but some is coming with us to give to our new neighbors where we will be living in Xcalak. Books will go to friends and libraries. Tools go mainly to my father-in-law, I mean after all (according to him), a man can’t have too many hammers. What I have problems with, and I am fully aware that this is a personal hang up, are with “sacred” things. Paintings my mother made, things from my grandparents, trinkets from my childhood, etcetera. I am truly as awful as Danny DeVito and his “coin collection” in Throw Mama from the Train. Intellectually I know these things have no value beyond my attachment but I still feel a small catch in my throat as I put them in a box to be donated. Another positive aspect of this whole exercise is that I am starting to discover is that a “things” intrinsic value comes from its function, not ownership. A beautiful sculpture is just as beautiful whether I own it or not. A sports car is just as fun to drive whether I rent it or I own it. I even find beauty in photographs regardless whether I made them or not. Things are what they are, apart from ownership. My attachment is (or at least should be) a completely separate matter. Very Buddhist of me I know (I hope). As imperfect as I am that is my goal. One thing I will never forget, all of the important things like love of family, friends and each other we keep with us.

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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