Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Collector of Moments Has Lots of Storage Space

Each week we are profiling real people who are editing their lives for more freedom and happiness. This week we hear from Lucy, a grad student and an active proponent of a new, sharing-based economy and showing how we can all do and live more with less stuff.

Tell us about yourself

I am a 21 year old business school graduate from Toronto, Canada. I work at a Canadian telecom company and for a start-up organization called Unstash, a peer-to-peer platform for collaborative consumption. I am a strong believer in creating social change through sharing and collaborative living.

What makes your life an ‘edited’ one?

I don’t feel the need to be obsessed with stuff anymore. I used to be a mindless shopper, but then I learned about access over ownership, the idea that we don’t need to own everything, in fact, we don’t need stuff, we need the utility it provides. If we can get that utility through sharing, we can also save money, create less waste, deepen our relationships and live happier lives.

Before, I used to dream of having a large library filled with books. But during my editing, I realized that a book sitting idle on a shelf has no purpose. I thought to myself, do I really need to own this book when it’s available to me at any time from the library? This prompted me to donate over 40 books to my local library. I felt great knowing each book could get maximum utilization as more people now had access to them, allowing their content to be constantly shared.

the Unstash Manifesto

Now, before I buy anything, I think to myself, do I really need this? Can I borrow it from someone else? For example, I borrowed a Halloween costume from a friend rather than buying one that I would only use once. And on the flip side, I am always open to lend or give my things to others. Sharing is a part of my life editing. Once I gather all the things that I can go without, I ask friends if they need any of the stuff I no longer need. I have given a dress to a friend who was looking for one to wear for her birthday. I gave away a large stack of post-its to a friend who uses them to organize her files. These actions allow me to share something that’s not useful to me with someone who needs them.

How long have you been living this way, and do see yourself continuing to live this way?

I started living this way in May of this year. I had watched the Ted Talks of Rachel Botsman and Graham Hill, where I began to learn about collaborative consumption and living minimally, namely, less stuff = more happiness. The ideas made a lot of sense to me, and I will definitely continue to live this way. Living an edited life is practical, efficient and a smarter way to live.

What are the biggest advantages of living this way?

The biggest advantage of living this way is being able to focus on experiences rather than things. I’m able to spend money I’ve saved on a night out with friends or on a memorable trip. I feel like I can spend my time on what really matters to me–with friends, family and doing things that make me happy. The less we are consumed with the stuff we own, the more time we have to collect those moments in life that really matter to us.

What are the biggest challenges?

For me, the biggest challenge is trying to explain the concept of sharing and minimal living to friends and family who don’t grasp the idea and label it as hippie, backwards thinking, or just a fad.

Do you think you could maintain this lifestyle with a family?

Definitely. With more stuff, there’s an even greater need for less clutter. There’s also a lot of stuff that can be shared when you have a family, like children’s clothes and toys.

What is the number one suggestion you’d give to someone looking edit their lives?

Start editing right away, even if it’s just a few things. Go through those old filing cabinets, closets and storage boxes. Once you actually get rid of stuff, you will feel amazing. That feeling will prompt you to continue editing and move towards a life edited lifestyle.

What item(s) have made your lifestyle easier?

My laptop and my smartphone, which include lots of easy-to-use apps like Airbnb and Orchestra. Everything is digitized, centralized and customized for my needs. Oh, and my library card :)

Do you have any design or architectural suggestions derived from your lifestyle?

Don’t buy a huge bookshelf or lots of storage because you will want to fill it and might end up hoarding or buying stuff just to fill those empty shelves or boxes.

Anything else?

Check out Unstash, a mobile app for life editing. Our belief is that every social circle has a huge overlap in consumer goods that don’t all need to be purchased, owned and maintained by every individual. We enhance the sharing experience, while helping people save money, deepen relationships and create a more sustainable future together.

Check out Unstahs’ blog as well as my personal blog, collaborativeliving.wordpress.com, where I write about anything collaborative that inspires me.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/vintagekaren Karen Bil Ratzlaff

    I like your ideas and spirit Lucy, but living with less stuff gets trickier when you have children…family and friends want to give you things all the time! And when your children get older, they usually want to keep all that stuff. What helps in our house are “Goodwill Days”… I tell everyone to go through their belongings and find unused things that can go to Goodwill.

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  • heather

    Thanks for sharing your story! I love the manifesto! I do think it is possible to live with less with kids. Kids can grasp this stuff! They do need constant reminders, just like I do. That’s why I visit a handful of blogs like this one every weekend- the time when I might be tempted to consume.

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