anti-materialism, finances, preconceived notions dismantled, reflections, say no to consumer culture, self-improvement, taking action

Not Everything Cherished Need Be Owned

Written by: Kendall A. | Umm Iman

I have always been a person inclined toward purging. I am constantly giving away or selling items that are no longer needed and reevaluating the purpose of the things that I do own. When I came across the term minimalism it seemed to suit me perfectly!

As time has passed, my knowledge and experience increased, and my commitment to leading a life that is anti-materialistic, I have embarked on a new journey of embracing the idea that “not everything cherished need be owned.” To me, this means that I can participate in meaningful experiences, take advantage of opportunities, and genuinely enjoy the things that are of value to me, without feeling the need to own or possess them. As I’ve lost many people within this past year, what they leave behind are memories, but also a lot of stuff. In considering my own transition from this world into the next, it is just a reminder that stuff cannot come with me, to be selective about what possessions I do own, and not leave behind a ton of work for my family members to sort through. I want to think creatively about leading the lifestyle that I desire in a way that is eco-friendly, cost-effective, and anti-materialistic.

With those reflections in mind, I have taken to the following actionable steps in making good on my mantra, that “not everything cherished need be owned,” and I’d love to hear from others about additional ideas in making this lifestyle goal a reality!

  • Continue to purge what is unused and unnecessary in my daily life. This includes, but is not limited to: clothing, shoes, dishes, furniture, etc. My first avenue is to find someone I know who could use said item, before donating to an organization or trying to sell it. One way that I have accomplished this is by setting up a what’s app chat for exchanging free items and services. It’s a great way to reduce, reuse, and recycle, which helps the environment, but it also serves as an avenue for building community! I’ve been able to get a bundle of items for my children going into the next season at little to no cost, because people have it ready and available to give. Similarly, it has felt wonderful to be able to gift someone with something that they need as well.
  • Borrow rather than buy. I currently have two amazing resources for borrowing toys, books, and learning activities, which has been great in allowing my children to play with and benefit from something, without needing to own it ourselves. Another point here is that we utilize a rotation system of our own toys, books, and learning materials to keep them fresh and cut down on buying new things. I’m happy with what they have and rotating those materials breathes new life into them. Our local library is also a great resource, in that we can borrow the typically lent option of books and movies, but also puzzles, games, toys, and other knick knacks! Borrowing is a great way to keep our home minimalistic, but also enjoy the things that are of value to us.
  • Photograph books. I’m sure that I am not alone in snapping countless photos on my phone of my children and random things that I see and like throughout the day. However, this leads to an overload of images, and if I’m honest with myself, I do not need or even like all of them. I have been making a conscious effort to: 1) take less photos on my phone in general, 2) use the phone photos for their intended purpose–like posting to Instagram, sharing with family, etc. and then deleting any that I don’t really need, 3) use my physical camera to be more intentional about when I want to capture memories and what those will be, 4) clear out my phone and computer of unneeded images, and 5) create photo albums of each year that contain the best photos of us as a family. This just feels a lot more intentional to me and like I am carrying less around.

This is the start to my journey around being more intentional about this. I’m really looking forward to coming across additional ways of meeting this goal of mine and being part of a community that also lives by these values!

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