Living with less sounds appealing. Minimalist homes are easy to clean and move. A spacious calendar gives room to breathe. In general, living with less gives freedom to do anything we want, anywhere we like.
What holds us back from living with less is the worry about not being able to deal with a future situation. It’s often called the just-in-case syndrome. You might hear people say:
- I should keep these bits of string and nearly-empty bottles of glue just in case something breaks.
- I should keep all gifts and souvenirs I ever received just in case someone asks about something they gave me.
- I need to keep all mementos of my loved ones just in case I feel guilty or forget them.
- I need to keep spares just in case I run out.
- I’ll keep something to wear for any occasion just in case I am invited some day.
Not everything will happen to you, so you don’t need to prepare for all eventualities. Learn to trust yourself to deal with situations. There’s more than one way to get your hands on something you need. And if you imagine an uncomfortable situation arising, work on developing yourself to deal with it.
To help decide whether to keep something consider the likelihood of needing it versus the importance of having it around if you need it.
- If it’s super important to have it but not likely that you’ll need it, keep it (Example: Disaster emergency planning)
- If it’s super important to have it and very likely you’ll need it, keep it (Example:food, laundry detergent, first aid kit)
- If it’s unimportant to have it even though you’ll probably need it, it’s okay to let it go. (Example: specific baking tools, extra shoelaces, spare computer monitor, clothes that don’t fit now)
- If it’s unimportant to have it and you probably will never need it, it’s also okay to let it go. (Example: highschool prom dress, books, car parts)
The likelihood of something happening and the important of being ready depend on your lifestyle. I don’t need to keep a sailing outfit in my closet because I rarely go boating. If I do go out, I use what I have or borrow.
So many things can be borrowed. If you’re in a big city you can probably get any book or DVD from your public library. There are also libraries of tools and sporting goods. And if not, maybe you could set one up in your community. There’s always knocking on your neighbour’s door to borrow a cup of sugar
What things are you reluctant to give up and how can you develop confidence to believe you can provide for yourself if the need arises?
For more reasons to keep things and reasons to not, please see this post on minimalistmum.
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