What’s in your box? (and do you really need it?)

I was having a significant birthday, you know, the ones that have a zero at the end.  It was a perfect time I thought to set some new goals. Sitting with my husband, he suggested we take off, buy a sailing boat and float around the north of New Zealand for a few months. The idea terrified me on so many levels.. … and THAT is another whole series of posts, we’ll do that later. This post is about our addiction to ‘stuff’. What do I mean by ‘stuff’? I mean that next gadget, toy, car, new this that and the other for the house, office, holiday home. Must have designer clothes, you get the drift.

Living and working from a small sailing boat was a very physical way of being every day. Everything needed to be stored and stowed securely. While there was plenty of room for necessities like safety gear, maintenance gear, food and water, there was limited space for ‘stuff’

As we prepared for our 3-4 month adventure my biggest challenge was figuring out how I was going to live in a 33 foot sailing boat with such a small space for my stuff. I lived in a 5 bedroomed, large house, with every nook, cranny and cupboard full of stuff. AND I thought I needed it to function and operate.  It was a huge task for me to choose what I took.  I was used to working from my fully furnished comfortable office with scanning machines, printers, reams of papers, files from 10 years ago, manuals of all descriptions (that I had not looked at for years)  2 phone lines and walls lined with books. Many books I had long since stopped reading, I mean really, my days of reading my MBA text books on Business Law, Ethics and research methods was long past by decades.  How could I do without all those things I wondered.

In the end, I left with an averaged size travel bag of clothes and my current client files, laptop and mobile phone. That was it! It felt very scary. Why was that?

Leaving Crater Bay

Once underway, we sailed up the west coast of the north island of NZ, round the top and spent almost 4 months living the most wonderful life. It took me less than a week to feel the total liberation of not having ‘stuff’ .  All we needed for this amazing life each day was enough fresh water, enough food and a sound boat. We rarely heard any radio and of course we did not have TV and only connected with the other world when I had coaching sessions to do. Well, apart from the daily maritime forecast which was a must do.

I got used to coaching and working in a space not much bigger than an office chair.Frid work

STUFF – happiness and a good life does not come from owning more stuff. How much stuff do you cling to? How much do you really need to enjoy a rewarding life? How many boxes do you have stored away and what is in them? Do you need it?

Give it away or sell it.

Start off by packing everything up as if you are about to move house. Then unpack only the things you actually need. See how much ‘stuff’ is still in boxes after a month.boxes

Try it, free yourself and see how it feels.  Let me know how you go!

Have a look at this short video, also about stuff.

Gai Foskett is one of two Master Certified Coaches in New Zealand. Gai specialises in executive leadership coaching.
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