Friday, May 16, 2008

Can You Really Live Without Stuff?

Hi guys...I've been in Michigan for a few days now. Flew into Grand Rapids at midnight, only to find out my luggage must have stayed in Milwaukee instead! By the time it finally arrived next day, I was seriously considering whether I would have to go to our niece's graduation in pajamas (one of the few things left at my folks' home)...and cowboy boots.

Since luggage and I again are one, this isn't an issue -- but it got me to thinking. I have to cut what I bring to Brazil to a bare minimum: 24 pounds at the absolute very most, 12 pounds minimum. I used to teach backpacking and rock climbing in New Hampshire in college days, and used about 12 pounds of personal stuff, including underwear and books to read late at night.

Could I do it again?

The dear at http://www.lentilsandrice.blogspot.com/ enjoys debating "living without stuff." (see her May 13 post.) Most times, she does a wonderful job, though her living areas seem a bit spare for my taste. Her May 13 post was fascinating -- right after she touted the joys of getting rid of everything...her next two posts talk about buying a new homeschooling system (complete with books and tapes), then a Craigslist piano!

Oops. Guess it's not going away, after all.

This family ( http://www.cagefreefamily.com/ ) plans to give all of its possessions away by the end of May, then live in Vermont in a cabin. Sounds wonderful -- will it actually work?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/17/us/17texas.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1210968228-eAVkS+YlrINqfe1VESPb6Q&oref=slogin

My lentils-and-rice friend enjoys limiting her family to very basic foods and touting those benefits...but her posts are full of 'cheating' moments and trips to fast food restaurants. Thankfully, she's honest enough to put this in, but it makes me wonder -- why resolve to be so strict, so denying yourself of things, that short of becoming a monk, you couldn't possibly follow this plan?

Wouldn't it be better to go half, instead of 100% cold turkey?

That seems to work better for me. But hey -- I'm not planning on giving up everything.

P.S. My dad, though feisty, still is not doing well. This is terribly hard, watching someone you love gradually spend more time just sitting and sleeping. The inevitable -- it's coming. I just hope and pray it won't happen while Dave and I are in Brazil.

1 comment:

Robyn said...

Our journey to get rid of stuff has been interesting, but I've never considered it 100% full of joy, or fun. It's been a huge struggle to downsize from over 4000 sq feet crammed full of stuff to less than 1000 sq ft of the stuff we're keeping, but the results are very freeing.

The piano is something we've always wanted, it's in good shape, and doesn't take up much room.

The homeschool curriculum we bought is necessary since we homeschool our children. You can homeschool with little more than the library, pencils and paper, but we choose to splurge a little in that area and buy a curriculum. The curriculum we bought comes on a set of 22 CD's + 6 CD's for extra reading books. It was two small CD cases that came in the mail, not lots of books and tapes. We'll print out the books as we need them each year. Since we've already downsized and decluttered our bookshelves, we have room for extra homeschooling books.

Our goal is not to live in a cave with absolutely nothing, our goal is to downsize so we can live in a small house when we move in a few years.

For every useful item that we bring into our house, we've already donated at least three items of the same size that were just clutter.

We're getting rid of the excess, and we're keeping only the things we need and use in daily life. Buying a piano might seem strange when all we seem to do is downsize, but the goal is to keep only the things we use and love. The piano has brought great joy to every member of our family, and it takes up little space.

The eating issue: My DH and I both love to eat strict vegan McDougall food, and that's what we eat 70% of the time. We're not perfect, and yes we do eat out every so often, that's true, but it's not something I've ever lied about.

My struggle with food is my own personal struggle. Everyone else in the family is perfectly happy with the way we eat, and we get good nutrition from our food, so no worries in that department.

Leaves Are Fallin'...And I'm Not Lion

(It really has been windy around here.)