There are only so many times you can talk about wanting to pare down your belongings in life before people just roll their eyes and agree with the “yea, that would be nice….” I am not here to say that I am perfect- because I really LOVE the gear that allows me to participate in all of my fun outside adventures. BUT as I have gotten older, I have begun to realize what really matters to me in life and what I can do without, and what are the essentials.
My most prized possessions are the ones that allow me the freedom to get outside, be active, creative and enjoy the world we live in. I love my skis and my mountain bike- period the end. My sleeping bag, sleeping pad and tent allow me the freedom to travel and use my skis and bike as well as explore new places. I sometimes sleep in my car in some random back corner of a parking lot hidden from the rest of the world at night, to save money towards that next adventure.
After moving cross-country this past summer, I only took what fit inside my Subrau Impreza and the roof box. (This included space for my dog, Kit) I paired down lots and discovered I brought some things I don’t need or use and I forgot some things I really miss. (I have had those shipped to me.) But there is nothing like just packing up and going to force yourself to rethink all the possibilities of what you will need and want, plus making it all fit. I knew I could find a way to make it work there was always the back up plan of UPS or the option of really great thrift shops that probably have what you are missing too.
I am always thinking of the paring down process. For the first 3 months here in Colorado, I didn’t want to purchase anything, just incase I had the desire to pick up and move again. I wanted the assurance that what I had would still fit in my car.
When I first began pairing down it began every few weeks, fully caffeinated late at night and I would go on a cleaning rampage where when I find something I know I have not used in several years or it is clothing that does not fit I put it into a pile. And I have several distinct piles: Trash (landfill), Recycling, and Donation Pile at the dump, outdoor gear consignment and fashion clothes consignment. The paring down process also had me realizing that while not everything is trash and a lot of it is very usable products, I have been working hard to try and keep as much as possible out of the landfill waste situation. I am not perfect- yes I have purchased a lot of these items new BUT I have learned the value of a quality product and when to save my money.
For me paring down is the art of going back to the basics not gathering the unnecessary but rather using what you have everyday. A freedom from “stuff” allows a lifetime of adventure, passion and hopefully a more debt free lifestyle. You live within your means, and celebrate the world around you rather than everything material. The biggest reminder is to get your affairs in order just enough to do it. Things don't have to be perfect. Trust that things will work out. They will. Above all, enjoy the process, the anticipation, and the present moment. When you live this way, you can’t help but be present and look forward to things.
Side Note: This isn’t supposed to make you feel guilty around the holidays but rather a thought to help you think about the little companies that make better products for you and what you need. I live and work in a mountain town environment it’s about having fun and remembering not to get lost in the hype.