Rarely does a week pass that Linda and I don’t express how much we love our simple lifestyle. Summers here in Maine are awesome and they are made even more so by the fact that we can lock and leave our leased condo to travel on the weekends instead of lawn mowing and car washing, as we used to do as homeowners. The beauty of such simplicity is that it helps limit the friction of daily living so we can pursue our passions.
As I was reflecting on our journey the other day, I was reminded of several results from the decision to downscale our stuff in exchange for more life. And I cannot stress enough how much doing so has freed up not only our home place but also our head space. The less time we spend on researching, acquiring, and maintaining possessions the more time left to enjoy the experiences of life. So here is a representative sampling of the upgrades:
A handful of accounts. As Thoreau suggested, “Let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand, instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail.” And I can literally count our accounts on one hand. Besides our condo and auto leases, the only bills for me to pay each month are our cell phone and credit card bills. All I have in my wallet are a credit card, debit card, library card, and driving license.
Archived files fit box. As a writer I used to accumulate huge amounts of paper. I printed everything I wrote to have a hard copy of it. It got to the point that I had eight full file drawers of papers and another four bins of our paper files. It was neat and organized but extremely unwieldy so over time we pared the paper down to a single file box that contains mostly tax records and other vital documents such as medical and legal papers.
An emergency “go bag.” In case of emergency, we keep special documents in a “go bag” ala Jason Bourne. It contains our wills, passports, identification cards, and extra cash. One of the byproducts of living so lightly is the ability to locate our essentials if the need arises. Other critical items I can access on demand include our photo albums and electronic devices, including the cell phones and laptops containing our digital lives.
A portable media library. As the attached photo attests, our collection of books and music fits compactly on our desk. After paring our library of about 2,000 books and 200 compact discs of music down to our 30 favorites of each, we can transfer all of it conveniently using collapsible bookends for the books and a carrying case for the music. We also own about three dozen electronic books and about one dozen digital music albums, all of which fit on our cell phones in the palm of our hands. How about you?