Trent Hamm at TheSimpleDollar.com on Saturday reviewed the classic book Voluntary Simplicity. When I read the book seven or eight years ago, I interpreted the focus of the book to be about reducing one’s impact on the environment. However, Trent points out in his review that there is a larger theme beyond responsible environmental behavior that speaks to the heart of simple, uncluttered living:
“… you don’t have to overconsume in areas that aren’t important to your life. If you don’t watch television, don’t buy a television or have a cable box. If it’s nice outside, don’t run your air conditioner. If you’re not into clothing, wear clothing until it’s actually worn out — and then even consider mending it. In other words, if it’s not all that important to you, don’t consume [it].”
It is so easy to buy, acquire, and own things that aren’t important to us simply out of habit or because other people have these things. If you don’t want the responsibilities of home ownership, rent. If you aren’t looking forward to an episode of Wipeout, turn off the television. Stop consuming for the sake of consuming, and buy and spend time on only those things that you need and matter to you.
The phrase, “If it’s not important to you, don’t consume it,” is now hanging on the bulletin board next to my monitor. I think it’s as important of an uncluttering phrase as “a place for everything and everything in its place.”