28 February 2012

Less Stuff, More Happiness

Today I watched a short, but sweet TED Talk by Graham Hill, called Less Stuff, More Happiness. Graham is a writer, designer, and founder of TreeHugger.com. His goal is to help push sustainability into the mainstreams.

In his video, Graham lays out a simply equation...
Less stuff, less space = 
Smaller footprint (CO2), More money, More :) & ease in your life
Like many others, my first reaction is to mentally put all of my stuff in a pile, wrap chains around it, and lay down in front of it, as if to defer a bulldozer. MINE! ALL this stuff. I don't want to let go of ANY of it. I just want to clean around it every weekend and wait for a weird costume party to wear that ugly shirt... 

C'MON! That's pathetic and silly. When I snap back to reality, all I really want to do is go through my closet and get rid of all the things I never wear. It makes me want to cover all my wood floors with a million pillows and invite all of my friends to live with me like a commune. We don't need as much space or crap as we let ourselves believe we do. 

If you think there is comfort and security in having "stuff" and space, think about what Graham says about travel. You take a suitcase-worth of things and stay in a small room in a hotel without all of the amenities you are used to. But it's still wonderful, and even stress-free. When you go camping, you stay in a tent and are probably more elated and content than you are in your own home. I guess I shouldn't generalize this to all people, or assume that everyone feels this way. Because there are definitely people who put up these huge mansions and fill them when items not meant to be used or touched, and then wonder why people like me feel so cold and lost in their space. 

Don't get me wrong - I'm not free from blame. I'm the MacGyver of making tons of clothes fit into very small rooms. But I am halfway there to editing my life (as Graham refers to it) - I do love small, cozy spaces WAY more than big, consuming ones. I just need to learn to let go of some of my "security blanket" stuff. Because needing physical entities to feel comforted and safe is a RIDICULOUS story that I've concocted in my head. I would definitely feel ecstatic to have 1/2 my wardrobe cleared out so that I can actually have access to the things I like to wear. BAM - MOTIVATION!

What will you give up??

You can check out some amazingly small, but efficient and clean spaces featured on Graham's Life Edited website.

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