If you got rid of 90% of your stuff, what would you miss the most? For me, the answer turned out to be: nothing. I remember the first time I saw the Burning House blog, a place that collects photos from people all over the world where they show what they would save in case of a fire. That got me thinking, what would I save?
Back in 2011 I had a nice one bedroom apartment, 62 square meters (some 665 square feet) where the closets where brim full of clothes and apparel, the basement storage was almost full with stuff like my snowboard and the clothes that weren’t in season, and my shelves and drawers full of other stuff. I was surprised to realize that besides the photo album with photos of my family and me as a kid and my computer, there were very few items I’d really miss.
Now don’t get me wrong, it was a very nice apartment. I felt at home, safe and at peace there. Me and my friends had some great time there, marathon watching series like American Horror Story, eating dinners, having drinks. But like all places, it wasn’t about the place or the items there. It was about the people.
I got a chance to put this to the test when I decided to move abroad for a long while. I sold my apartment, and I got rid of most of the stuff. Some stuff, like the snowboard and my couch I sold. Other stuff like books, DVDs my TV and surround system, I gave to family, friends or to charity. I saved two suitcases of clothes and a couple boxes which I stored at my mom’s place. I managed great with the stuff that fit in two suitcases. I learned two things about me:
1) I didn’t miss the material things. The only thing I sometimes missed was my Xbox, as videogames tend to put my brain in a very relaxing kind of free flow when I’m in my most introvert mood.
2) Having a home is very important to me.
All this came back to me just a few weeks ago, when I read “Living with less. A lot less“. Graham Hill wrote about how he got rid of most of his stuff, and how he never has been happier. I knew exactly what mr. Hill meant when he wrote “Often, material things take up mental as well as physical space”. And then I remembered reading about the top five regrets of the dying. Guess how many people regretted not buying more stuff?
It all came full circle when I got back to my mom’s house this weekend and looked through the boxes I saved. I turns out that even the stuff I thought was worth saving, for the most part wasn’t. I talked about downscaling with Fredrik Wass (@bisonblog), who founded blog100 – a challenge to get your blogging spirit reignited, where you blog once a day for 100 straight days – who’s also been having these thoughts. We were both thinking about downsizing, and we wanted to share the experience and how the change affected us. And so crop100 was born. For me, crop100 is about getting rid of material clutter, and leave both mental and financial room for more experiences shared with my loved ones. I’m going to share the process here on the collective crop100 blog. I invite you to join me – if you hashtag your posts, they will show up there. Read more about the crop100 project, and how to join.
All you have to do is start downsizing and document it in your preferred way, just add the hashtag #crop100. Me and Fredrik will compile a list of people joining the movement and publish it. I’m looking forward to living with less. A lot less.