This is the Salt Lake City Library. It’s beautiful. I write here, read here and meet friends to gab and brainstorm here. There are several floors of books and other resources that I can borrow for weeks at a time.
The first time I decluttered my home with the intention of becoming clutter-free, it was almost easy because I had so much stuff. Each pass I made after the first became easier as I discovered the benefits of living with less and more challenging as I got down to the stuff that was harder to release.
I got rid of excess stuff and clutter in this order:
- Trinkets and stuff I never used or liked
- Multiples of household items like silverware and measuring cups
- Clothing/Jewelry/Accessories (Thanks to Project 333)
- Other stuff that started to feel excessive once the first 3 categories were gone
- Sentimental items
The process wasn’t as clean and linear as described above, but it went sort of like that.
I got rid of my books last, but still use them on a regular basis. We don’t have book shelves in our new tiny space, but I am still an avid reader thanks to the public library. Each time I walk into the library, I am inspired by all of the words waiting on shelves to move, change or entertain me. I recently borrowed Elaine St. James’ Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. When I return them, I’ll borrow another book or two. While I still purchase books to support awesome authors, I give the books away when I’m done reading.
Letting go of my books was harder than it needed to be. I don’t miss them and gave way to much thought to what life would be like without them. Just because my home is book free, doesn’t mean my life is book free. Realizing that made me think about other things we can borrow. I haven’t taken advantage of these resources, and they aren’t available everywhere, but if you are interested, consider other ways to borrow.
Tool Libraries. Check out this interview about the West Seattle Tool Library or this list of tool libraries all over world. Do you really need your own lawn mower or home improvement tools that you rarely use?
Clothing Libraries. You can rent special occasion clothes, shop consignment or share items with friends. If you are unemployed or in need of clothing for job interviews, check your local area for organizations like Dress for Success that donate or loan business attire so you don’t have to invest in something you may only need once or twice.
Work Space. If you are starting your own microbusiness or you work on your own, you probably don’t need a dedicated office space. Work at a local coffee shop for the cost of a latte, or for free at your local library. There are great co-working space options popping up everywhere too. Check out concepts like Gangplank or Workbar or form your own local group to share a space.
Use and/or support unconventional libraries by borrowing and donating as a way to reduce consumption in your own life and help out those truly in need of items that they cannot afford to purchase. If you can’t find one in your area, think about creating one.
Sharing and borrowing will help you enjoy without attachment and will likely make your future decluttering efforts even easier.
Borrowing space, books and other resources from my city library has made me start thinking about what else I can borrow if I need it. I think I use everything I own now, but then again, I used to think I couldn’t live without my books.
What do you borrow now, or wish you could lend or borrow?