2010 – The year of my personal simplicity?

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In the recent blockbuster “Up in the Air,” Ryan Bingham, (George Clooney) a “corporate downsizer and occasional motivational speaker,” challenges his audience to “put down their backpacks.” In that backpack, he claims, is everything in our life – that which is slowing us down – from knickknacks to photos to family members and relationships.

“The slower we move, the faster we die. Make no mistake – Moving is living,” he says. A great quote.

After seeing the movie again today for the fourth time, it occurs to me that he has a great point – “Stuff” does slow us down. And the older we get, the wealthier we get, the more “stuff” we seem to accumulate. There’s a law about it, apparently – The bigger our place, the more stuff we collect to fill it. It’s sad, in a way.

I’m as much of a victim of that law as anyone else. But today… I’ve decided I want to change it.

I found a blog a few days ago – A Paperless Life – Denise, a writer, talks about her attempt in 2010 to get rid of as much paper as possible.

I salute her – I’m going to attempt to mimic her and do the same. But there’s a lot more we can get rid of, isn’t there?

Photos? Slides? Scan in the best ones, store them locally and off-site for backup, toss the rest. (Or as Mr. Bingham says, “Photos? Photos are for people who can’t remember. Drink some Ginko and let the photos burn.”)

DVDs? Blueray discs? Good question. I can rip DVDs to an external drive and lose the discs – But can I do the same with Bluray? If so, can someone tell me how?

Which brings me to the question of storage… What should I use? What drive is big enough for 500 DVDs? For Bluray? If you wanted to buy the biggest, fastest external drive for your Macbook Pro, what would you get?

Clothing – How much do we really have that we don’t ever wear? Goodwill is getting quite the donation this week. Really go through your closets. Women: You’re really going to wear those clubbing dresses from 2004 again someday? Right. Guys? Not every t-shirt we get at a conference needs to be kept.

Food: Buy the staples – buy the rest on a per-occasion basis. Bonus: You’ll lose weight.

Travel: I’ve already mastered this. I go to the airport with my backpack and a carry-on. Anything bigger I have to take? That’s what FedEx is for, end of story.

I want 2010 to be simpler. I want to own less stuff. I want to have more space, and not have to fill it. That’s my mission.

Help me do it. Give me some other ideas in the comments. What else can I lose? What else don’t I need? What else can I make smaller? (And don’t say my cats.)

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