The attachment we have to our things is an interesting one. Sometimes I wonder where they are derived from; is it good marketing or our own thinking that we need these things. Whatever the origin the fact remains that we all have way too much stuff in our homes and in our lives.
We’re getting ready to move to an eco-village that’s off-the-grid and sorting through our things, what to keep and what to sell, has taken on a new meaning. Some things it’s easy to make a decision on; get rid of it or keep it. Other things aren’t so easy. Like keeping the flat screen TV, is it practical? On the one hand no, because we won’t have cable TV again. On the other hand, yes, because we can watch DVD’s… is it worth it to keep for occasionally watching a movie???
The kitchen appliances, KitchenAid standing mixer with all the attachments, Bosch washer and dryer (which is amazing in terms of energy efficiency, I’ve never seen anything clean so well with so little water and electricity), electric waffle iron, Dyson vacuum, and so forth. Discussing which to keep and which to sell. We ended up deciding to get rid of almost everything because even though many of these things were energy efficient there are equivalents that don’t require any electricity.
We made up our minds that we would keep things super simple, bare-bones. We need our computer because I have a Young Living Essential Oil business and build my business mostly through having an internet presence. Curt on the other hand, maintains my website and makes websites for others. OK, so three of our computers get sold (a Mac G3 and G5, and a Sony Vaio), the money we get from them goes towards a more energy efficient Mac Mini that we will share… that alone will be interesting since we’ve never shared a computer before, we’ll just find a fair way to deal with it though.
The amount of stuff we sold at our yard sale in October gave us a lot of space in the apartment to go through even more things. It also gave us more space to put the boxes we were packing.
It felt good to have more space. What didn’t feel as good is selling all of this very nice quality stuff for a fraction of what we paid for it. That provided a lesson too… it hurts to loose money… which makes me realize that in the future when anything gets bought we will have to first ask ourselves, “is this something we will lose money on, or is it something we’ll have forever?
There’s something nice about knowing we’re going to be living with so few electrical items. I hadn’t realized how many we had. It’s made us think hard on what we will be using in place of those items, or even if we need to consider a manual equivalent. The waffle iron was easy, we’ll simply get a cast iron one if we discover later that we really truly want and need one.
Parting with the Bosch washer and dryer was difficult to let go of, they were by far the smartest choice I’ve ever made in terms of appliances. The thing is they run on the wrong kind of electrical current. That almost made my putting them on Craig’s List easier to do. I began entertaining ideas of how we could make a washer that didn’t run on electricity. Fortunately, we won’t have to seriously work on that one for a while because there is a shared washer where we’ll be moving. There’s no way I was going to drive some 15 miles to a Laundromat to wash clothes once a week, that really defeats the purpose of living simply and off-the-grid.
While sorting through every single thing we owned I couldn’t help but think of my favorite online video, Story of Stuff. I’ve never been a pack-rat, but I have always had a fair amount of stuff I shared my home with. The thing I like most about the Story of Stuff video is that it walks you through the entire process of how stuff is made, from it’s very beginning stages to what happens to these things when we no longer want or need them. I hated to think that I was just another human being contributing to global warming. Perhaps the only thing that made me feel a bit better is knowing that we are putting ourselves into a place where few things are needed. At least none of it went to a landfill! It all ended up in someone else’s home, someone who will use and enjoy them… that too made me wonder… was that really better… I probably shouldn’t have purchased them in the first place.
I don’t think there’s any one easy way to go through years of things. It’s more a matter of you gotta do what you’ve gotta do. It is a lot of work but it’s nice to know that once it’s done it’s done.
Basically, the sorting into piles of keep or sell, came down to is this… what is absolutely necessary for living?
We’re moving in about a month, doing something neither one of us has ever done before. There’s an excitement to it. It’s mentally stimulating too, it challenges you to think harder on the things you’ve lived with and used for so long. Will we be saying, “I wish we still had ___.” Or, will we be finding ourselves hardly remembering our using certain things?
One thing I know for certain, we all have grown way to accustomed to having and expecting too much stuff in our homes and lives. We’re looking forward to the sense of freedom this parting of much of our stuff will bring.
Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner, Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.
"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller