In continuing thoughts about my last two posts about a year of no new stuff and cutting ties to crap I’ve been trying to solidify what this actually looks like. If I’m actually going to do this for a year there needs to be a very clear distinction of what I’m doing and what I’m not doing. Saying “I’m not buying new stuff, except for this, and that, and..” leaves a lot of room for wavering which is good, but also not so good. I need to refine this to something that makes sense before the first of the year, and until then I’m going to be thinking out loud a lot hoping for feedback on some of the thoughts.
I think a good approach is think of it in positive – what *am* I going to do, rather than negative am I *not* going to do. I should also try to make it as short of a list as well, so it’s easy to remember. Maybe 3 rules?
Again, disclosure is that this doesn’t apply to food/consumables, nor is it an anti-capitalist thing, so spending money on experiences that don’t result in more possessions is fine, as are digital purchases (ebooks, mp3s, etc) – it’s about less stuff and clutter. Also it’s personal, so doesn’t apply to my young, growing child who needs new things a lot or my wife who is already better about not getting new stuff than I am. I’m also just not even considering work related things, again this is personal.
- Addition: Limit purchase of items to 12 new physical items. Only get one a month, so use it wisely. Do not accept physical items as gifts/schwag above this 12 item limit.
- Substitution: If something wears out or breaks, first option is repair it. If repair isn’t possible or reasonable, and replacement is needed (sometimes it won’t be) 2 similar items must be gotten rid of to bring in a new one that doesn’t count against the 12 new item limit. No upgrades just for the sake of upgrades.
- Subtraction: Actively go through stuff and get rid of things on a regular basis. Document this with blog posts at the very least once a week. Stuff can be given to friends, sold, donated or thrown out, but not traded for other things. Aim to get rid of one item a day (or 5 a week).
Is that too open ended? Too restrictive? I think it’s reasonable, but I might be forgetting something. I know I can travel with nothing but a carry on bag for weeks on end and never feel like I’m missing stuff, so there’s not really a reason I need a full closet and boxes of stuff in the garage and things under my bed and blah blah. I have excess things right now, so I’d like to consciously reduce that excess over the next 12 months.