simple life http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11408/all en-US Help From a Former Pack Rat: Getting Rid of Stuff http://www.wisebread.com/help-from-a-former-pack-rat-getting-rid-of-stuff <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/help-from-a-former-pack-rat-getting-rid-of-stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/881954218_72b90cbc19_z.jpg" alt="garage sale" title="garage sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="170" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am writing to you from the trenches &mdash; my parents' house in New Hampshire &mdash; where the me of today is engaged in battle with the pack rat me of the past. Our battlefield is the drawers, boxes, and bins full of stuff that I left here. Right now, I am happy to say that I am winning &mdash; although the fight has not been easy.</p> <p>Overcoming my pack rat tendencies over the past several years has taken some serious work. Part of the trouble is that, on the surface, being a pack rat can seem very frugal &mdash; it's easy to justify keeping stuff by telling yourself that you're saving it to reuse. For example, I used to craft a lot &mdash; but when I realized that I had multiple bins of craft supplies sitting around, untouched for <em>years</em>, I had to admit that I had a problem. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-lessons-i-learned-from-hoarders">Simple-Living Lessons I Learned From&nbsp;&quot;Hoarders&quot;</a>)</p> <p>Below are some of the things that have helped me get rid of stuff &mdash; and if you've had a pack rat past, I hope they can help you too.</p> <h2>1. Set a Deadline</h2> <p>People who are able to get things done without deadlines, I salute you. But for me (and so many people I know), a deadline really helps drive productivity. Whether it's something big, like moving, or just agreeing to participate in a neighborhood yard sale, set a deadline to get yourself sorting through stuff.</p> <h2>2. Ask When You'll Use It</h2> <p>This isn't the same as <em>how</em> you'll use it. It's easy enough to look at a bag of yarn and tell yourself &ldquo;Oh, I'll pick up knitting again sometime.&rdquo; If you haven't used an item in the last six months and you can't see yourself using it in the next six months, toss it. If you do decide you want to knit again, there's always a good chance someone else will be selling their old gear around that time.</p> <h2>3. Work With a Voice of Reason</h2> <p>It's easy to argue with yourself about whether or not you'll use something and then get frustrated. Ask a trusted friend or loved one to help you sort through stuff and provide another perspective.</p> <h2>4. Get Excited About Making Money</h2> <p>Hey, you don't just have to get rid of stuff &mdash; you can sell it. Whether it's at a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-successful-garage-sale">yard sale</a>, on Craigslist, or via eBay, getting excited about the extra cash your old stuff might bring in can help you get active.</p> <h2>5. Experience the Joy of Giving</h2> <p>I'm not ready to have kids yet, but many of my friends and cousins have started having children...while I still have toys from when I was a kid sitting in my parents' basement. Yikes! But that means I also get to be the awesome person who bestows gifts on all of my friends' kids, and if you haven't seen a kid open a gift recently, let me tell you &mdash; it's pretty joyful.</p> <h2>6. Take Pictures</h2> <p>Digital photographs don't take up physical space &mdash; unlike the piles of middle and high school art I have. Now, when I'm throwing out art, I always take a digital picture first. That way I can still see my bizarre artwork if I really want to (and I'm serious about the bizarre part &mdash; earlier today I found a colored-pencil drawing I did of Scully from &quot;The X-Files&quot; standing near a phone booth on an abstract, multicolor background) without having to carry things around.</p> <h2>7. Go Through Again</h2> <p>I thought it was a good idea to keep some photos from my college photography class...until, when I was going through another closet, I found even better versions of the photos I decided to keep. Revisit what you've decided to keep. After you have a better sense of the big picture, you might be more willing to part with things you had previously decided to save.</p> <h2>8. Save Some Stuff...or Don't</h2> <p>There are two ways to approach what to keep, I think, and it all depends on what matters to you. I'm keeping a small selection of photographs, journals, and items that really matter to me. It makes it easier to get rid of other things when I think about how truly important these items are.</p> <p>At the same time, getting rid of everything can really help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/balancing-living-in-the-now-with-planning-for-the-future">focus on the present</a>. The important thing is to spend some time thinking about what really matters to you.</p> <h2>9. Remember the Joy of Simplicity</h2> <p>To not be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-tyranny-of-stuff">bogged down with stuff</a>, to not be paralyzed by too many choices, to live without clutter &mdash; these things are wonderful. Remember that as you get rid of things. Even if you can't sell something, even if you have to give it away for free &mdash; in many ways, you are not losing, you are gaining.</p> <p><em>Are you a former (or current) pack rat? What helps you get rid of stuff? Leave you answer in the comments below. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/help-from-a-former-pack-rat-getting-rid-of-stuff">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-rid-of-stuff-frugally">10 Ways to Get Rid of Stuff Frugally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes">Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-junk">How to Get Rid of Your Junk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization declutter how to get rid of things simple life yard sale Wed, 18 Jul 2012 10:36:16 +0000 Meg Favreau 942702 at http://www.wisebread.com What is Simple Living and Why Should I Care? http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3054207786_062d7baeaf.jpg" alt="Autumn trees in the mist" title="Autumn trees in the mist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="393" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even with predictions that our economy is turning around, the current financial climate isn't exactly what most people would call &quot;good.&quot; In fact, for some of us, it's downright rotten. Regardless of your personal situation, the last year could be construed as an alarm clock, buzzing and beeping until we look around, see the excess in our lives, and eliminate it.</p> <p>While it's true that not everyone feels the pull to cut back, overall there's something attractive about empty space, whether it's in our decorating, how we spend our time, or some wiggle-room in our budgets. Now that we have the financial motivation, it seems like a good time to figure out what we want, why we want it, and how we're going to get there.</p> <p>Part of the allure of simple living is its mystique. What do you think of when you think of the simple life? Tibetan monks in a monastery on a high, frozen Himalayan mountainside? American pioneers, whittling their possessions down to whatever fit in a wagon so they could haul it across the country? Your parents or grandparents who, during the Depression, got by with so little that they still tell stories about it?</p> <p>While all of these people definitely lived more simply than we do today, none of these portrayals is realistic for the average American. But what does simple living look like in today's modern, convenience-filled world? I think it looks different depending why and what's important to you. Why?</p> <p><strong>Because simple living is about priorities.</strong></p> <p>What is important to you and how can you ensure that those things get done, bought, and followed through on? Or, on the other hand, what isn't important to you? What could you easily do without? And what's in the middle? What is nice to have around you except when it gets in the way of those higher priorities?</p> <p>Simple living means clearing out the space of our lives, in terms of time, money, and psychological space, so that those things that are the highest priority are ensured a place. It means living deliberately, not getting caught up in the infamous tyranny of the urgent but learning to keep our eyes on a higher goal.</p> <p>Since we all have different priorities, simple living will look different for each one of us. Sure, we all have the same basic priorities...food, water, shelter, clothing, but even with these basic needs, different ones of us are willing to accept different types and kinds of provision. Beyond those, our priorities are very different, and that's ok.</p> <p>We can learn to live in such a way that, whatever our priorities, they are almost always adequately provided for. It means making changes, even sacrificing some of those items in the middle so that the ones on top have more space. But the best thing about simple living?</p> <p><strong>In the end, we have the life we want.</strong></p> <p>Sure, things happen. And nothing's perfect. But we can make choices today that give our priorities the best possible chance of being met. Does it mean making changes? Almost certainly. Cutting back? Most likely.</p> <p>But in the end, we reap the rewards of that work. We get to live lives that are full of the things we value and carry a minimum of the things we don't. How satisfying is that?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-determining-your-priorities">Simple Living: Determining Your Priorities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-overcoming-negative-inertia">Simple Living: Overcoming Negative Inertia</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists">Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simplicity-and-being-cheap">Simplicity and being cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-from-my-frugal-father">Lessons From My Frugal Father</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle living simply simple life simple living Fri, 23 Oct 2009 14:00:02 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 3745 at http://www.wisebread.com