BLOG: Making Do & Living Without

I have entirely too much stuff. When I made the permanent move to Clinton, I thought it would be a simple process transferring my belongings from the dorm into my rental home. “Simple” turned out to be a weekend long process. Somehow over the course of three years in college I had accrued enough to fill a dozen 30-gallon tupperware containers, 5 cardboard boxes, and 3 duffel bags. And that was before I purchased all the “necessities” for the house.

As I started sorting through the boxes and arranging my belongings, I began to realize that I didn’t even use the vast majority of things I packed. My pack rat nature is partially to blame, but the excessive nature of our society can’t be completely ignored. I wanted to throw everything away and start from scratch. Obviously with my budget this was impossible, but it was enough to get me looking for a change.

Recently I found this blog called Make It Do, whose author Meg Hourihan found herself in the same dilemma. Sitting in her apartment surrounded by junk, Meg came up with a crazy idea: for the entire year of 2012, she wouldn’t buy anything except what she used up or wore out. For anything else, she’ll make do or live without. To keep herself accountable, Meg documents on her website every purchase she makes along with an explanation of why she needed it.

I don’t know that I can successfully carry out her year-long challenge, but I do think that there are some possible steps towards decluttering my life. Here are some ideas for living simply:

  • Don’t need it? Don’t buy it. Sounds easy, but hard to follow.
  • Clean out your closet. If you haven’t worn something in two months, get rid of it! The Salvation Army and Goodwill are always taking donations. If you’re short on cash and have newer clothes in good condition, try selling to Plato’s Closet for quick money.
  • Borrow. Many times we buy things out of convenience rather than necessity. So before you pull out the credit card, see if a friend nearby has what you’re looking for.
  • Keep track of what you buy. You don’t have to write it on a website, but you could at least keep a purchase log in your notebook! Plus it’ll help when you balance your checkbook (or when your parents call wondering what you’re spending money on.)
  • Let someone else trash it. People tend to justify their useless junk (just watch an episode of Hoarders for proof), so let someone who knows you well go through your belongings and toss out the junk. It’ll be hard, but worth it in the end!

-Lauren White, Senior Telecounselor and Pack Rat

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