In the fall of 2014, I packed my bags and moved to Berkeley, California. I was a graphic design volunteer at a nonprofit Buddhist organization(that’s a whole nother story for another day) and there I learned many values that I still carry with me today. One of those values was non-attachment. Non-attachment is the freedom from things. There are many aspects of this principle. I like this quote:
“Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.” – Ali Ibn Abi Talib
When it comes to stuff, I’ve never been super into collecting more and more. I have been trying to be more self-conscious when it comes to the things I own. Here are a few ways how:
1. Take a good hard look at the things you haven’t used in the past year. Many times, we tell ourselves that we will have a real need for those things ‘one day’. Of course, that day never comes. There are a few things that hold sentimental value(like those Photo Booth photos with your grandmother who didn’t know how to pose or your sketchbooks that remind you of how far your drawing skills have come) and I don’t think you should throw those away but there are things you should donate or get rid of asap. If it doesn’t make you happy or you don’t use it, it’s time to let go. When practicing letting go of your stuff, I’d recommend doing it slowly in order to not drive yourself crazy. Taking a whole day is exhausting. But start perhaps with your nightstand, then your drawers, your closet and so on.
2. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This is so crazy true. Maybe you are bored of something that you own because you’ve had it for too long, but somebody else could think it’s the best thing ever. Selling your stuff is such a great way to not only make space in your apartment but also make extra money and make someone happier in the process. There are people out there that could make much better use of your college sweater or that skateboard you stopped riding years ago. I love using Poshmark as a stream of income and there are many similar apps like LetGo, OfferUp and Mercari. Alternatively, you can also use more old school websites to sell like Ebay, Amazon or Craigslist. The internet connects you to so many potential buyers of the things you don’t need or want anymore. You just have to decide where to sell.
3. Learn to distinguish between things you need vs things you want. I definitely think there is a time and place to “Treat yo self” (Or even have a Treat Yo Self Day like Tom and Donna did on Parks and Rec) but most of the time you need to practice self control. Target for example is a weakness for many people because they have so many cute yet unnecessary things to choose from. I used to spend hours just floating around from section to section. However I’ve stopped doing that and before going to Target (or any store for that matter) I will make a list in my head or on my phone of what exactly I need. This way you can avoid going to a store with nothing in mind only to come out with things that are not useful. Before purchasing I also validate it by how much I think I will use it. I would much rather buy something I know I will be using daily or several times weekly than something that is only useful for special occasions.