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Learning To Live With Less

Updated on October 11, 2013

Living A Simpler Life

Exploring what one really needs to survive and grow. Our lives get so complicated as we age. We accumulate so much stuff, material stuff and mental stuff can drag us down and keep us from moving forward.

My life has left me with a lot of emotional baggage. I need to clean out the trash in my mind and heart to start over fresh. This is a struggle for me as I tend to cling to the guilt rather than forgiving myself.

As far as material stuff, I don't have that struggle. Every time that I have started over I seem to leave with just the clothes on my back. I have had my belongings stolen, kept and trashed out of spite, put into storage and lost. The hardest thing is loosing family items and missing a home to call my own.

I so want to live a simpler life. I don't need much space anymore. I want to be independent but not isolated. I want healthy relationships with family and friends. I want to give more than I receive.

I guess, I just want to be me.

Living Large by Living Small - Under Constuction

Sketch by Kristin Noelle
Sketch by Kristin Noelle

Here is my Dream Home.

I love the idea of less space indoors and more space outdoors.

A small place for shelter and the comforts of a home to renew my body but more space outdoors to garden, kick up my heels, enjoy nature to renew my spirit is my dream.

It's just a dream now but I can already see it in my mind. I can see the wild flowers. I can hear the hummingbird's wings as they dart from flower to flower. I can feel the warmth of the sun on my shoulders and the soft breeze in my face. I can smell the afternoon rain on it's way. I can even taste the fresh grown vegetables picked from my small garden.

What Do We Really Need To Live?

Learning The Difference Between Need and Want

Exploring and Researching:

What do we need and how much of it? What is a need? What is a want? Then ask yourself why or the purpose of having the item.

Do I need a TV in every room? Of course not.

Do I want a TV in every room? No, not really.

What would be the purpose of having a TV in every room? There is no logical purpose. In fact, I waste too much time on TV now.

The above example thumped me in the head and made me realize I don't need a TV at all. The shows that I enjoy are usually on Discovery or National Geographic channel. I can find them on line.

Do I need so many purses? Of course not.

Do I want so many purses? No, not really.

What is the purpose of having a purse? To carry lots of stuff with you, I guess. Wouldn't a wallet in my pocket be more practical and safe to hold essentials in like my ID, Debit Card ( I don't use credit cards) cash etc? Why yes it would.

A re-purposed cabinet door that I painted like an old sign.. It's for sale.
A re-purposed cabinet door that I painted like an old sign.. It's for sale.

How To Scale Down?

Sell, Donate, Give, Recycle, Trash

I've been selling some things on E-Bay.

I went to flea market today and sold a few things. I had fun, enjoyed the sun and met some interesting people. I even gave some things away as my heart led me to do. I hope to go again.

I have some nice things to donate to Habitat ReStore. How about that TV? I have some nice things for Salvation Army too. How about some clothes I don't wear and of course a purse or two?

I have some wooden items that I can paint and re-purpose into useful gifts or even sell.

Oh yes, there is trash but it too can be recycled into appropriate bins.

Recycle Reuse Repurpose

Using What You Have Available

Another person's trash can be a treasure.

This is an old bucket used as a light. Pretty cool for the kitchen.

http://www.squidoo.com/re-using-the-unusual-to-cre...

Donate Donate Donate

It is very rewarding to donate good used item. There are so many agencies that would welcome your useful household items.

This is a much better option than filling your over crowded land fill.

Some that quickly come to my mind:

Habitat For Humanity

Salvation Army

Good Will

Homeless Shelters

Your Church Family

Check your local phone book for more and remember they will often pick up large items..

Cleaning Out Old Thoughts and Habits

Negative Baggage
Negative Baggage

Since I have been learning to live with less. I thought of all the extra junk I have stashed in my mind. So I have started to clear out the negative thoughts in the attic (my mind) that keep me from moving forward in my life.

During this process, I realized my body needed some cleansing too. I needed to get rid of some bad habits and replace them with good ones.

I visualize bins and old suitcases to pack my negative thoughts, regrets etc. into and get rid of them.

What To Do With The Mental Baggage?

Try sorting out some of the stuff that is bothering you. Imagine a few suitcases in front of you, now let's put a baggage tag on each one of them. One of mine would be labeled Past Mistakes. Another is labeled Guilt. Maybe, I'll tackle these first. It's always easier to approach a big job in small steps.

Now that I have filled these two suitcases, what to do with them, I ask? I tried burying them once but they kept surfacing. I no longer need to hang on to this baggage and I sure wouldn't want to donate it to anyone else. I think it is time to symbolically burn it and not let the smoke get in my eyes.

Now let's find a good past special memory and make a new great memory to celebrate. Today celebrate, tomorrow we can tackle another suitcase..

I have been busy at work packing another suitcase that I have labeled Fears. Fear has crippled me in so many ways. It has kept me from experiencing real love. I have built walls around me and made excuses for my behavior. I will be glad to get rid of this baggage. In it's place love will grow. Fear and love cannot exist in the same place

"There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life."

John Lennon

Living Out of A Suitcase

Just One

What would you pack if you could only carry one suitcase for the rest of your life? What do I need to pack to be best prepared for this unknown journey? What would I wish I had packed but didn't?

What to Pack ( 1st draft)

1. Comfortable shoes for walking.

2. A change of clothes.

3. Personal hygiene items.

4. Blanket or throw

5. My Bible

6. Identification

7. Glasses

8. Ball Cap for bad hair day.

9. Notebook and pen

10. Medicine

11. Flashlight

12. Address Book

13. Contact for Emergency Number

14. Stamps

15. Hope for Future

What I would wish for:

1. Money

2. Cell Phone

3. Laptop

Reaching Out For Resources

Where and how to find resources for essential living?

For the past 2 months I have been seeking help in order to put a roof over my head and I will share the results with you as soon as I have results. So far my name has only put on waiting lists.

I have also been seeking resources for mental health and group therapy to combat my depression and anxiety. I don't have insurance or the $$$ to spend on receiving professional help. Truth is, it was a big step for me to admit that I couldn't fix myself on my own. Hopefully, I will share the results with you. Again, my name has been put on waiting lists. I was told by one of those resources that the waiting list is at least 1 year maybe 2 before I would be helped.

United Way has many resources.

Salvation Army

Goodwill

Good Samaritan

Crisis Hotlines

Group Support

Volunteer

When you give you receive.

Please sign my guestbook

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    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 4 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      It's amazing what you can learn to live without when it really comes down to it. You have a lot of good suggestions here!

    • Camp April profile image

      Camp April 4 years ago

      What a lovely job of expressing your thoughts and feelings. Really enjoyed and got met thinking.

    • ladyyummy profile image

      ladyyummy 4 years ago

      I like the living out of a suit case list ;)

    • NibsyNell profile image

      NibsyNell 4 years ago

      Living with less gives you so much more freedom. It's like a weight being lifted off your shoulders.

    • evannecarter profile image

      evannecarter 4 years ago

      Thanks for the visit.. interesting info here

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      You'd be surprised the things you can really live without.

    • latishaalford profile image

      latishaalford 4 years ago

      They say less is more

    • lclchors profile image

      lclchors 4 years ago

      I lived for several years on only what I could take with me.

    • BWenning profile image

      BWenning 4 years ago

      Thank you very much for sharing this from your heart.

    • profile image

      FlynnTheFineFle 4 years ago

      That was nice of you to ask, but, in this case, unnecessary. I'm honored to have my lens on yours. Thank you. And your lens has been very nice. It has certainly stirred my more emotional side, and I hope the absolute best for you with your "spring cleaning," so to speak. Life is better simpler.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I wish you the fulfillment of all your dreams Lucy. I like what you said about letting go of mental luggage. Live with less, a very important message.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 4 years ago

      @Linda BookLady: Thank you for sharing your situation with me. An empty nest or whatever they want to call it these days is hard to adjust to. So similar 5 children and 2 grands here that I rarely get to see. My prayers are with you as well. I do look forward to the challenges ahead. I will have much to learn and share.

    • Irrevocable profile image

      Irrevocable 4 years ago

      I would love to have a nice piece of land and a small home. I definitely dig having less and have always been someone who has had less than others out of choice. I am a visual person - and mess and clutter make me stressed/anxious..so having less is perfect for me. This is much more difficult to do now I have a 4 year old son, however he has a few toys but generally has a lot less than more kids..however he is pretty content. I do not think I could cope otherwise. My niece (who is 2) has more than twice the things my son does and plays with hardly any of it. At least I know my son is getting good use out of what he has :)

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Hi there, it seems like we're in a similar place in life. My five children are adults, I have one grandchild. I would love to move out of my current dwelling - been here twelve years and as I walk around I think of all the other people who used to live here with me, who have moved away. I am lucky to have a place to live.. I know others, like you, are struggling. I hope you get a home of your own soon! I know where I want to move to but it will take me another year to save the money to move there. Good work on getting rid of old baggage... have fun remaking your life!

    • JadeHandmade profile image

      JadeHandmade 4 years ago

      This makes a lot of sense. I love recycling and repurposing. It's a great hobby and very rewarding.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @LiteraryMind: So true. We just seem to keep gathering and we know it will all be left behind one day. I pity the poor soul who has to deal with my stuff.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      A very nice lens. Food for thought. At one time I realized that I kept building shelves to store more things (sound like your purses). Where does it end? What happens when you run out of places to put more shelves? I agree with you 100%.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      I think you're so right about living with less. We did that when we built our retirement home with only 2 large rooms, bathroom, and a large garage (w/bathroom) for my hubby (who loves to drag race and needed the room). I'm at the age I want to thin out my belongings so my kids won't have to later. :) Best wishes to you.

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      I couldn't agree more. I got rid of a lot of my things when I became really ill - I just didn't need it and to be honest, it made me sad seeing things around me that I could no longer use. I now live in a shoebox of a flat with my partner, so it is not physically possible to keep so much 'stuff' but still, I will have a clear out soon. Bless you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You have some excellent points. I have way too much stuff and need to clear it out.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is a good reminder. As we travel and stay in other countries for work, I have to learn to live with less. I used to furnish new places as if it's my home. When we leave I had to give many things away. Now, I just stick to what is essential. Enough!

    • shauna1934 profile image

      shauna1934 5 years ago

      We could all stand to live with less. I lost most of my "stuff" 6 years ago when I went through a brain tumor/job loss/divorce but I knew I wasn't any of that "stuff." Of course, the "stuff" has started re-accumulating. Sometimes I want to be like Gahandi and give up all my Earthly possessions in search of being more spiritual. We're capable of so much when we learn to live without. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      I sure understand the benefit and challenge of living with less, thanks for sharing your story.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      Thanks for the visit and liking my lens. I agree even when young it was hard for to accomplish much in a messy confusing environment. Sure wish I had met you on the trail. Red Pants story made me laugh. I think I met him.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 5 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I've always hated clutter in my own home -- even just my own room when I was growing up -- but I REALLY learned to live with less and like it even more when I hiked the Appalachian Trail. Most of what I really needed I carried on my back. Having less STUFF, for me, makes life feel more manageable and relaxed.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @Celticep: Thanks for visiting and liking my lens. I hope that knee is mending. I'm on my way to see your lenses.

    • Celticep profile image

      Celticep 5 years ago

      Very inspiring words :)

    • profile image

      TamarWrites 5 years ago

      My kids know my mantra, "I can't stand stuff!" With a large family, being in a smaller house is not an option. When I retire, I look forward to a smaller house with a lot less stuff! Great lens!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      This is so true. I spent most of today discarding clutter. Now I feel lighter.

      I'll share that while I'm typing this, Olivia Felini just walked one way and then the other way across my desk. I suppose she wanted to check on what I was doing.

      She sends you a warm Meow.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      Thank you Magda. I'll have to read your lenses about Chinese knotting. That sounds interesting.

    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 5 years ago

      Great lens, it has meaningful topic..

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @poldepc lm: Thank you for reading. You have an interesting Bio.

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 5 years ago

      very good lens...love this lens

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      I love your dream home. What a beautiful way to live. I could see myself in a tiny house and often imagine the simplicity and freedom of doing so. Hold fast to this dream. I can very much relate to living large by dwelling small. My main goal right now is to rightsize my life. The questions you pose are ones I am considering a great deal lately. Thank you for a lens that really resonated.

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 5 years ago

      I'm also getting very overwhelmed with all the clutter in my life. It seems to be surrounding me but I am starting to dig through it all... selling lots on ebay too! I just started on my first Rubbermaid tub and I've already made over $50.00.. woohoo!!

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you for your comment and liking my lenses. The words of encouragement are appreciated. Just for you... don't it make my brown eyes blue..Crystal Gayle

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @sukkran trichy: Thank you for sharing this quote with me. I will have to learn more about edwin way teale. I would like to reference him and his quote in my lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love your approach. This is wonderfully written and inspiring.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves. -edwin way teale

      loving living small idea.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves. -edwin way teale

      loving living small idea.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @davenjilli lm: May your aspirations come true. Having had a fifth wheel, I enjoyed the freedom of travel and excitement of seeing new places. At retirement age, you can apply for a Golden Pass Card that discounts the rate at state parks.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @Terrie_Schultz: I also have had the tendency to cling to things. I love unusual antiques that tell a story. I have to remind myself that I enjoyed them for a time and now it is time to let someone else have the joy. All too often, I hear myself saying, I use to have one of those whenever I go into an antique shop. The fond memory doesn't take up much space and doesn't need dusting.

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 5 years ago

      I am now in the process of getting rid of unwanted and unneeded possessions. I feel overwhelmed by all the stuff surrounding me. I have a tendency to cling to things, but it is stifling. Also, the inner and outer are reflections of each other, and I believe as I rid myself of clutter and unwanted junk, my mind will also become more free.

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 5 years ago

      my husband and I aspire to live in a fifth wheel when we retire

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Amen. Everything in it's place. Thank you for the comment. The lens like me is still a work in progress.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi, Lucy! For me, clutter=chaos. I love not having too much stuff. Nice job on this lens.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @Countryluthier: Thank you for your kind blessing.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Great job! More is less in many cases! Blessed by COUNTRYLUTHIER.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @msseiboi: Yes it can. With less we become grateful, free, and perhaps more creative.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @TwistedWiseman: I agree living with more can make life more comfortable and fun, as long as the possessions don't possess you.

      I have a sis who has a Harley, bass boat, camper, jet skis, dually truck and a home on 5 acres that she has to maintain after work. She does this all on her own. It's rare to see her enjoy them.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @siobhanryan: Thank you for the encouragement. I feel hugged by the Angel Blessing.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Another great lens-you have a gift for writing-Angel Blessed

    • TwistedWiseman profile image

      TwistedWiseman 5 years ago

      I have been living with barely anything all my life and I know whats it like to live with less, I think it's about time I start living with a little more than I have XD Don't you agree.

    • profile image

      msseiboi 5 years ago

      This lens is great...less can be more

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @WriterJanis2: Thank you Janis. As you can see I am a work in progress. I look forward to improving and becoming more with less. Everyday of the journey is full of surprises.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Just want to wish you luck. My heart goes out to you.

    • justmelucy profile image
      Author

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      @Lesliekjack: Letting go of the item, of the hurt and of the blame is hard but holding on is like an anchor that pulls you to the depths. I am still learning to let go and be free without the weight of the past.

    • profile image

      Lesliekjack 5 years ago

      I think we can all relate to loosing something that had sentimental value. Stolen, lost, broken etc... These items signified something or represented a person, place, feeling and such. A few years ago my wedding and engagement rings were stolen by a family member. It completely consumed me. The rings weren't extremely valuable but in addition to feeling upset over not having the "thing" that was important to me I also had a scar from the hurt of the theft of the thing (rings). I held on to the hope I could get them back. I would obsess about it. I held on to the anger at the person. I felt I must replace the rings in order for my marriage to be okay but I didn't have the money to do that and wouldn't anytime in the near future which made me mad too. I eventually let go of the anger, let go of the rings, and moved on. I bought myself a sterling silver band and a pretty (but fake) ring with a stone in it just because. We never replaced them with gold and diamonds I still wear the silver. I had not even thought of this in years so I guess I am over it. The marriage is what is important not the rings. Maybe one day we will replace them but if not that's okay too..