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Learning to live big with less

by Gail Asbell

Often in our current world, having more is valued over having less. The problem with this way of thinking is, we think that in order to be happy we need to own more, do more, and have more. And we are constantly in a state of want. We can never have enough and if we do, we want a better version. The yogi teachings tell us that attachment to things and even people is what leads to unhappiness. Because we don’t try to find that happiness within ourselves, and when lose something or the shine of it wears off, we become unhappy. Living without attachement is easier said than done, especially when we already own and are attached to a lot of things. But when we have less we can learn to love experiences, sensations, feelings, and ourselves even more. Here are some of our favourite ways to live a simpler life with less attachment.

If you haven’t worn it in 12 months, donate it

Clothes are often an area within our lives where we tend to hoard. We keep buying, but don’t get rid of anything and all of a sudden we have a closest bursting with things, some of which we forget was even in there. In Australia, we need four seasons worth of clothes, for the cold winter nights, all the way to the hot summers days. So once a year (if not more), go into your clothes cupboard and if you haven’t worn something in 12 months, you need to get rid of it. Either give it to someone you know who would love it and use it, or donate it to one of the countless places around town that take second hand clothes and put them to good use.

If it’s not functional or beautiful, get rid of it

 Lots of things in our home are unused. Whether it’s kitchen items, things we’ve stored in the garage, or whatever it is. There are things in every corner that haven’t been touched for a long time. If something isn’t functional and helping you, or if it’s not beautiful and helps make your house a home, what’s it doing? Again, donate it.

 Each month, clean out a room

Sometimes cleaning out the house can feel daunting. Make the task manageable. Tackle one room a month, and when you’re done, start all over again (you’ve probably bought more things).

Don’t impulse buy

Impulse buying is very problematic. We buy because we think it’s going to make us feel a certain way. We are sad, we buy something, we want to feel good in an outfit, and we buy something. But remember, this is all about finding that happiness in material things. Walk away. If you think you need it, rather than buying it to make you feel better, you can go back and buy it another day.

Use your own jars and containers

Plastic is one of the most thrown out things. We have a lot of it and we just keep buying more. Instead of going to the supermarket and buying plastic jars filled with foods, try shopping at markets and wholefood stores more that allow you to bring your own jars. That way, you’re not buying or using anything more than you already have. The same goes for plastic bags. Take your own reusable bags.

Make your own

If you want something, ask yourself first if you can make it your own. Cake, clothes, vegetables from the garden, artwork, shelves, there are endless things we can do on our own if we put our minds to it. And if you yourself can’t do it, do you have a friend who would be happy to help you? There’s something you needed, plus connection with a friend.

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