You Can’t Rush Simplicity

A couple years ago, I wrote a post about how I got rid of my DVD collection and posted it on my personal blog: jameslcarey.com. It was edited and reprinted on this blog as How to Free Yourself From Your Collections: DVDs. I didn’t really think about some of my edits until someone found the original post the other day and in proper internet fashion, called me out for being “arrogant” and “still just as much of a consumer”. It’s true what they say, a hundred people pay you a compliment, but you remember the one bag of douche who didn’t like your stuff.

Firstly: Don’t Feed the Trolls. Secondly: what that highly intellectual and definitely not living in a basement apartment with their pez dispenser collection person was referring to, was how I digitized my DVD collection and then used an Apple TV to watch them on my TV. I can understand their reaction, given the message I was trying to get across. Anytime you combine talking about simplicity with owning something made by Apple, a lot of people tend to lose their damned minds on the internet. But I digress.
What I wanted to say to that person was, yes, I owned a fancy box that cost $100 that played my movies on a TV that cost $600 and I wasn’t part of a commune living in a yurt and making my own yogurt. But for me, selling my DVDs was a big decision, a huge leap, and it flipped a switch, it started a change. I went from having a very large piece of furniture in my small apartment dedicated to showcasing all those DVDs to selling off all those DVDs, getting rid of that bookcase, and having so much more space. It was an amazing change for me, I could literally feel the weight lift off of me by getting rid of those DVDs, knowing I wouldn’t have to move them ever again and I wouldn’t have to keep buying them to add to the collection or making stops at Best Buy to get suckered into buying more stuff either.
A few months after I wrote that post, I decided that I mostly watched movies on my computer and barely turned the TV on at all. If I did, it went to mindless reality shows that I put on for background noise that distracted me from doing things I enjoyed like reading or writing. So next, I called the cable company and dropped my plan to internet only. Now, the cable companies are smart, this doesn’t drop your bill down that much, but it does drop it down. Then, since I had a TV that I didn’t really use, I sold it. The Apple TV that I had was now pointless, so I sold that on eBay. I had a TV stand with no TV, sold that too. What was once about 30% of my apartment dedicated to an entertainment center was now open space. Room for doing some exercises, vegging out with a book, room for friends to come over and have a place to sit for once and talk without the TV distracting everyone from real conversation.
The point is this, simplicity, down-sizing, or whatever you want to call it, is not a one-stop shop. You don’t step off a ledge and find yourself living in a one room house in the woods, if that’s even what you want.  It’s a progression, and it’s different for everyone. For me, I found it was easier to make small changes at first. These gave way to bigger changes that I would never have considered before, which led me to start asking myself hard questions. I actually really enjoy looking back at old posts where I refer to owning things that have since been sold off and long forgotten. It shows me how far I’ve come and how great the journey has been.  
What are the small changes you’ve made on this journey of simplicity?

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