Hooray! My partner in life and living simply, Debra Baida, just launched her blog Liberated Spaces. It’s a smorgasbord of ideas on how to cut out all the excess stuff we acquire in the hopes of making our lives more meaningful but instead end up making everything more complicated. Sure, I’m biased, but I’m also close to the source, so I know that this is not another “green” gimmick but a very authentic, down to earth approach to actually shedding some excess stuff rather than just talking about it.
I do believe that despite the massive scale of environmental problems in this world we as individuals can make a huge difference and “be the change we wish to see.” And it really starts with what we bring into our homes: Do we really need most of the stuff we accumulate or is it just a habit we’ve acquired because the world we live in is flooded with chotchkies? I mean, have you ever noticed how we’re on total autopilot when it comes to accumulating unnecessary things and how hard it is to break that dynamic? Why does it take so much effort to not be given a bag at the store, and shouldn’t it really be the other way around? We’ve got so used to picking up stuff that we don’t even notice it anymore. Brilliant accomplishment by the marketing and advertising powers that be, but really bad for the planet.
That’s why Liberated Spaces is so cool — it calls attention to our collective consumer slumber, but rather than being preachy Deb is all about sharing ideas and resources on how to make do with less and offering functional and sustainable alternatives to our throw away habits. Where else are you going to get a photo tour of the Goodwill processing facility and the San Francisco transfer station, showing you what actually happens to our stuff after we get rid of it? And where else are you going to find out about workshops to learn how to make jewelry out of old toys?
So don’t let anyone tell you that doing the small things doesn’t matter. It not only sends a message to those who want us to be consumer sheep that we’re not buying it anymore, but lifting the weight of managing unneeded possessions frees us to do the things we all say we cherish most: Hang out with friends and family, be in nature, read a book, enjoy the moment. And on a more macro scale, I think that becoming aware of all the clutter and distractions in our daily lives is a mighty act in changing the dynamics that have led to a polluted and overconsumed planet.
In honor of that old bumper sticker “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” here’s my ode to Liberated Spaces: “What if they sold crap and nobody bought it?”