For any of you following my writing, you may already understand that I am embarking on a journey towards sustainability and self sufficiency. It’s a long journey, with vague steps between here and the unknown final destination. In fact, there might not even be a final destination, as this seems like an ever evolving dream.
This is more of an intention, than a plan, but the ball has started to roll and a few initial steps have happened already. It feels exciting, yet somewhat overwhelming. So far it seems to require a lot of faith and surrender. Despite not being able to see around corners and see what’s coming up, I am enjoying the process.
How it All Began
I won’t take you back to the beginning of time, but back just a short while when the realisation came of the need to purge.
You know what…. I can’t actually pinpoint a specific moment, but the culmination of a few things contributed to the desire to purge.
My Purging Process
- Rent, is the biggest drain on our resources
After watching an inspirational episode of ‘Living Big in a Tiny House‘, I was inspired to reduce rent to a minimum, ideally down to zero, but without signing up for a mortgage. The reason for reducing rent to a minimum, is in order to save what one would normally spend on rent and put it towards a patch of land. Where the land is, and how big it is, comes later. So herein lies the biggest challenge, how to live rent free?
A trailer, boat, or tent will at least reduce rent, it’s a sacrifice and it hasn’t actually happened yet, but to realize that this move is necessary, has sparked a bunch of other actions.
- Reduce dependancy on technology
At the time of this realisation, I owned a lot of DJ equipment. I decided to sell almost all of it which not only reduced my belongings closer towards that of someone who could live in a trailer, but also created around $3000 in it’s place. There are still some items to sell, but these items are a last minute sale. One step at a time, I do still have some attachments. My desktop computer will be gone soon and the ‘shared’ laptop will have to become more shared between my wife and I.
- Digital Purge
Aside from my online business which I explain in the next section, it is important to have a digital purge also. I have been operating an ‘inbox zero’ policy for about a month now and it has worked extremely well. The most helpful advice:
“Find an excuse to delete it, instead of an excuse to keep it”.
This has been the best piece of advice I have received in relation to my emails. Action your emails immediately, deal with messages at the time, then delete them and move on. This has proved very beneficial in not only getting things done quickly, but also freeing up time and keeping the inbox clear.
I feel a sense of freedom when the email inbox is clear. It’s just like having an empty ‘in tray’ at work. You are ready and availble to take on whatever you choose.
Facebook has also been a part of this purge. As Facebook has it’s uses I am unable to quit it completely, but for many months now I have had an empty news feed due to unfollowing everything!
Unfollowing is an easy way to make everything disappear, but as I wanted to remain in touch with a few select friends, I decided to add 29 of my friends to my ‘close friends’ list. These include people that I physically see and hang out with on a regular basis, along with life long friends whose bonds hold you tight. It’s a great way to cut through the noise and stay ‘in contact’, with those nearest and dearest to you. After all, the human brain can only deal with 150 friends anyway.
- Reduce other expenses
I created a website called traktortips.com where I created and sold tutorial videos for budding electronic DJ’s. I needed to reduce the monthly running costs to zero. This happened by:
- moving my blog to a free wordpress blog,
- moving my course to Udemy so I’d have no hosting costs and
- reducing my email list to only those that truly give a shit, thus reducing my email list to a size that costs nothing to operate.
This has worked nicely and the hype surrounding the closure and the moving of the course was a great way to initiate more sales, creating another $1200 in this process. Hopefully more will come through the new advertising channels on Udemy too.
- Purge Clothing
The clothing purge has begun. In an attempt to be as ruthless as possible, I am reducing to: seven T-shirts and seven sets of underwear and socks, a handful of sweaters and some dressy clothes, a few items for the cold and wet weather and some dirty work clothes for those grubby jobs. I will have 4 pairs of shoes, including rubber rain boots. I would like to reduce by even more but I’ll start with this amount first.
We haven’t owned a car for around 18 months, and despite the occasional set back due to weather, I have enjoyed a much healthier life, more connected to nature and with less expenses.
Next Step in the Purge
There’s a few more items to let go of and my wife certainly has a bit of catching up to do, but I have faith that we can do this. Despite our very frugal approach to capitalism and our minimal one bedroom apartment, it is extremely surprising how much crap we can accumulate. By clearing down the things that no longer serve us, it not only clears up physical space, but it seems to clear out your mind too. There’s less to think about when there’s less stuff floating around in your immediate vicinity.
Often you need to peel back the layers and reduce yourself to nothing in order to make room for the new. I’m not exactly sure what the next phase looks like, but by removing the distractions and the unnecessary clutter, I am making room for the next stage to come in.
Stay tuned to find out what that might be.