How many material possessions do we need to be happy? How much space do we need to live comfortably? As a society can we escape from the western vision of what the perfect life should be thus improving the environment? These are some of the questions I have been thinking about lately whilst I have had to downsize my life.
In general over the years I have been going through a slow and steady downsize from getting rid of unnecessary clothes to getting rid of my TV (as I wanted to stop wasting my life watching other peoples lives).
Now I have had to downsize from a spacious three bed roomed house (which I was living in my own in the end not good for the environment) to a cosy compact one bedroom flat which I am sharing with my fiancÃ©.
The downsizing process
During the downsizing process I had to review all my personal belongings as they would not be able to fit into my new place. Whilst over the last couple of years I have not exactly been a shopaholic especially as I pledged at the start of 2008 to not buy any new clothes somehow I had accumulated many items. Many of which had been kindly given to me as gifts from family and friends (honestly when I say please dont buy me anything for birthday / Christmas etc I really mean it).
How many books?
My large collection of books was the first thing that I reviewed and whilst I sold some at a car boot sale many of my fiction books went to charity shops to raise money for good causes. Now I only have specific reference books that I refer to on a regular basis otherwise I am only going to use the library thus saving space money and in theory reducing the amount of books that need printing.
Overall I reviewed everything that I owned and I took into consideration of what items I could not live without such as the essential; clothes cooking equipment useful furniture etc. All unnecessary items were either sold via Ebay car boot sales (my mums car as I dont own one) Realcycle and charity shops.
So how many material possessions do we need to be happy?
The downsizing process was very cleansing and I felt that my life was less cluttered. Overall I felt happier getting rid of materialistic items that clever marketing and western values had convinced me (or convinced others to purchase for me) that I should own.
Now dont get me wrong my fiancÃ© and I are not living pre-historic style! However we have cut down on electrical items. We no longer have a microwave or freezer. Still no TV and we only have one CD player as we do not need music in every room (in fact the walls are very thin in the flat so you can hear the music quite easily in the next room).
We have basic cooking items as who actually uses a million cooking gadgets? (ok I admit many years ago I went through a phase of having cooking gadgets such as a breadmaker steamer etc but sold them awhile ago as they were only collecting dust)
So overall we are currently living fairly clutter free and happy. Note to my family out there