giving (material) things up

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

(does food count as a material thing?)

tomorrow marks the first day of lent.

one year I gave up mcdonald's french fries.
one year I gave up "being mean."
(side note: speaking softly for forty days is REALLY hard (and nearly impossible), but that's a blog post for another, fast-approaching time).

this year I'm giving up starbucks,
because I spend (on average) $10 a day there. it's really easy to eat and drink everything from starbucks when you live in seattle and there's a starbucks on every block. easiest lunch breaks ever!

ah, I love giving things up.
I love giving up old clothes that were expensive but that remind me of young-adult angst.
I love giving up books that collect dust and don't call to me to read them.
I love giving up shoes that don't serve a purpose besides looking nice at the bottom of my closet.
I love giving up boxes of tea I don't drink, blankets that I don't cuddle under, and random sticker books that I received for christmas about ten years ago.

I've been cleaning my life of everything lately.
goodbye to: mugs and bowls that aren't handmade, shopping at stores that sell new clothing, and the "need" to buy another pristine pair of rainboots.

but I don't like giving up things that I have on a daily basis.
icelandic yogurt? keeping it.
mason-jar smoothies - heavy, yet somewhat functional? keeping them.
daily soy chai-tea lattes from starbucks? ...begrudgingly giving them up.

I guess you could say I'm trying to live more simply.
spend less money.
give away more than I consume.

but sometimes this simplicity thing can feel out of hand,
when I look in my closet and realize... oh wait, I actually don't have any clothes to wear to a potential job because I sold or donated them all in my moment of purging.

how do you manage it?
I'm trying to find the balance between having so little and having enough to survive.
do we really need all material things that we consume?

I leave with that open-ended question.


  1. I'm so bad at giving things up. I committed to not buying my lunch at work for a good month and saved so much money but then one day I forgot my lunch and had to buy food and I haven't really stopped since.

    I think that as long as we have the bare minimum to live an enjoyable life then we're doing okay. The problem is when we start stretching that 'minimum' to include things we really don't need.

    It's a balance that I'm not sure I'll ever fully understand

  2. It can be difficult to give up something that is comforting to you. I have a small room so I have to go through my stuff every now and then and decide if I really need it. It's finding that balance I think is something we all have to work on. Keep the essentials you use daily and slowly over time keep note of what you have no real use for and give it away. If it turns out you need something you no longer have, chances are you can replace it.

    Good luck with giving up Starbucks! I should probably give up going to coffee shops.