I was listening to The Minimalists podcast 011 Sentimental today and I think this was their best one yet. There were three specific sections that resonated with me.
JFM’s story about packing up his Mother’s place – Letting Go of Sentimental Items. I remember that this is one of the essays I read when I was just discovering minimalism. It really spoke to me. Having lost my Father, I can relate to this story greatly. That experience makes me look at my possessions with a new perspective. Is this what I want to leave in the world? I don’t want to burden others (PS I’m 36, I don’t plan on going anywhere soon!). It’s another reason not to mindlessly accumulate clutter, but rather intentionally purchase only what is useful.
They also made a great point about letting things go. I’m going to paraphrase badly here, but the gist of it was that it is NOT letting go which is wasteful (rather than letting go).
They say that when you look at an item, a lot of work has gone into making that item. And it was made for a purpose. If you don’t use that item, if you hoard it or store it away, then you are not honoring the efforts of the makers by not letting the item fulfill its purpose. All their efforts are in effect wasted.
You are better off letting that it go, donating or selling it to give it a chance to fulfil its purpose.
I felt that this had a bit of the Marie Kondo to it.
But it really resonated with me – I often feel guilty for getting rid of stuff. This is a better way of looking at things.
They read an exert from another of their essays about risks, called The Worst Thing That Could Happen. This also resonated with me, particularly the two questions you should ask yourself when making a decision – ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen as a result of this decision?’ and also ‘What’s the best thing that could happen as a result of this decision?’.
Thinking about ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ is actually really freeing. It can give perspective. Like when I was deciding to commit more fully to this blog. The worst thing that could happen is that I fail. That people think it sux, I get no readers and I give up. If that’s the worse thing that could happen – why not go for it?
I hadn’t thought about also asking, ‘What the best thing that could happen?’. I’m going to add this to my toolkit. It’s a great new perspective in the ‘risk versus reward’ conversation.
So have a listen, if you haven’t caught it already, and let me know what you think!