While backpacking around New Zealand for seven months, I learned to love living with only the necessities. All of the possessions I brought with me fit into one backpack and it was still more than I needed. It is incredible how little you actually need when you are forced into a limited situation.
I knew that this living style was going to be an adjustment, so I began to read about minimalism to prepare. Walden by Henry David Thoreau is the classic example of minimalist writing. This book provides a lot of valuable information but for a more modern and applicable example of these principles, I suggest reading Leo Babauta’s writings. The combination of his books (The Power of Less and Focus) and blog posts (Zen Habits and mnmlist) will provide you with the concepts needed to simplify your life.
This material and my experiences in New Zealand has helped me take a minimalist approach to the number of possessions I have. It is definitely a struggle to maintain in a society that is constantly pushing people to buy more. However, it is amazing the amount of stress that is relieved by simply living in an uncluttered and organized space.
This leads to the challenge for the week: Give away one item each day for seven days. This will not be seven random items either. I want you to make it a challenge for yourself by strategically choosing the items that you give away.
Take the next five minutes to figure out seven items that fit one of the following two categories:
1) Items contributing to a bad habit
– Moderate Example: Give away your DVD’s. Having a large collection of DVD’s can be a huge barrier preventing you from being social. Without any movies to watch, you eliminate a reason for staying home. This gives you more incentive to go out and build deeper relationships with friends. Remove barriers between your current life and your ideal life.
– Extreme Example: Give your TV away. If you want to instantly transform your life, eliminate all TV from it.
– Other examples: Unhealthy Food, Video Games, etc.