The other night during dinner a news program droned on in the background of our evening meal. I began to pay attention when I heard the television personality say, “he has fewer than one-hundred possessions.” I immediately thought and vocalized, “minimalist living”, to which my fiancé looked in my direction and said, “what are you talking about?” I told him to listen to this story and backed up the DVR so that we could hear the entire segment again.
As we listened to the program from the beginning, they described how this thirty-something man had decided that we as a society have too much stuff. He wanted to see if he could eliminate all of his extra possessions and only keep one-hundred items. Apparently he could and he did. He actually reduced his possessions at one point to a mere fifty-seven items.
This entire segment fascinated me. I had recently read that in the 1960’s there was no such thing as storage facilities, but now there are millions of them around our country. We have become a society of stuff. We’re the stuff generation. We like our stuff. But, what is this stuff doing to our landfills, our environment and our sense of what’s really important in life? Never mind the question — how much is this stuff costing us?
By watching just one episode of the tv show Hoarders, any viewer can see how stuff can take over your life. It can control you even. Hoarders don’t want to waste something that could be repurposed. They don’t want to throw something away that they may need later, and see those of us that do throw things away as wasteful. Hoarders have an illness which doesn’t allow them to sort out what really is garage — including human and animal waste — to what are actually salvageable items. What ends up happening to the hoarder is that they create their own mini landfill inside and surrounding their own homes and cars. Some even have so much stuff, they rent storage units.
When you think about how simple daily living takes a toll on our planet, image what the addition unnecessary stuff does to it. These needless extra products must be created, packaged, marketed, and then purchased. Then, what often happens is that you need more stuff for your stuff. You buy your daughter a Barbie. Now the Barbie needs clothes, a car, a house, a boyfriend, who needs clothes, and on and on. When we determine these items are no longer useful, more times than not, they end up in a landfill.
So how does one live without their stuff? As we watched the program that night. I counted the number of items on the dinner table alone, thirty-two. Almost one-third of my “allowable” hundred possessions were on the table alone! And, that didn’t count the pots and pans that were used to create the meal, or the television and DVR that played, or the, or the, or the… My mind raced at the idea of getting rid of my stuff.
While many of us, including myself, couldn’t narrow our possessions down to just one-hundred items, I do believe we could live without many of the things we think are necessities. Our planet needs us to stop using its resources in excess and start giving back to the land.