GUEST WRITER - Rachel Goodine
Attempting less. To me, it’s not just about reducing the amount of disposable waste in the environment but about freeing up personal physical and mental space. This in turn helps me make the most of my time. The less clutter I have in my brain and my home, the more peaceful I feel. When I’m not attempting to do every little thing and buy every single trend, I can make room for the things that are the most important.
What’s the most important to you?
Maybe it’s your relationship with your kids. It could be a hobby that you absolutely love like painting, writing, or playing music. Most of us find it really difficult to find the time for the most important parts of our lives because we have so many things encroaching on the room in our homes and brains.
I’ve been working on owning less stuff since about 2020. It turns out that the world doesn’t actually come to an end when I finally decide to let go of my old school textbooks or a few purses I haven’t used in years! In fact, it’s the opposite - it’s freeing. That fear of letting go kept me from experiencing that freedom for a very long time.
I’m not against owning stuff in general. I still purchase things, but I try to be very intentional about what I’m buying. I look for quality; things that can last for life, or at least decades, like a well-made pair of jeans or solid wood furniture that won’t need to be replaced any time soon. I also try to replace anything disposable with reusable products, like switching from disposable fabric softener sheets to wool dryer balls that last a few years.
Less stuff means more physical space but it also means more mental space. If I don’t have as many objects in my home, I don’t have to think about finding a designated place for each and every item. I don’t have to think about maintenance of countless appliances and electronics. There’s less laundry to do, and I don’t have to spend time cleaning and dusting as many things.
The time I’ve gained from simplifying my life through attempting less by not keeping so much stuff, using reusable or long-lasting products when I do buy, and by taking some non essential tasks off of my to-do list has left room for what really matters. I have way more time to spend with my daughter. We’re able to spend lots of time in deep discussion about all kinds of things, and I feel like I’m truly present with her now. It feels good to know I’m available for her mentally and emotionally because I’m not constantly overwhelmed from all the clutter.
I’ve also had time to reconnect with nature. I’m noticing things I didn’t used to, like flowers in my neighborhood I hadn’t taken the time to admire before and the scent of different plants growing in the hot summer months. My simplified life has truly led to a more peaceful and fulfilling existence.
So attempt less. Become mindful about how you're living your life and identify what’s most important to you. Make intentional decisions about what you keep in your physical and mental spaces. Free up your time by letting go of stuff that steals it, like tasks that don’t necessarily need to be done and items you’re no longer using. Don’t let excess stuff get in your way while dominating your time and attention by adding to your cleaning and maintenance schedule. Not only will you lessen your negative impact on the environment, but you’ll find a sense of peace that allows you to truly enjoy life.
[Rachel is a business owner and mother of a 12-year-old girl. They live on Vancouver Island, in Canada, with their 3 cats. Rachel is of the belief that writing and nature are both sources of peace and healing, so why not combine the two? She runs an online shop called Office Odds & Ends that stocks luxury nature-themed stationery. If journaling, planning, or writing happen to be on your list of most important things, you can pick up a beautiful high-quality notebook, some pens, or any other item from her shop at a 25% discount with code