De-own. Don’t just declutter.

Chris Lawton

Joshua Becker was the first person to introduce me to the idea of de-owning, and initially I found it quite challenging to understand. Surely isn’t decluttering the same as de-owning? I’ve let go of these things, I no longer own them, therefore I’ve de-owned, right?

Not quite.

In SLOW I write about this realisation:

When Ben and I first decluttered, we did a fantastic job of recluttering almost immediately. We’ve made space! Great! Let’s fill it with better stuff. Stuff we need. Stuff we’ve always wanted. Stuff we deserve. Stuff that will identify us as successful and thoughtful. Stuff that will tell others we’re creative, mindful and intelligent.

Why did we do this? Why did we declutter, only to spend the next few months slowly recluttering? Why were we convinced that we deserved shiny, fancy new things? Why did we find it difficult to maintain the space we worked so hard to create? For us it was a combination of:

  • convenience
  • ego
  • expectation
  • habit
  • boredom
  • discontent
  • comparison
  • advertising
  • status
  • aspirations
  • identity
  • insecurity

Honestly, it doesn’t feel great telling you that. It feels shallow. But it’s also the truth. And until we were able to wrap our heads around de-owning, not just decluttering, it was going to remain our truth.

We spent time slowly letting go of our need to own things, and throughout the rest of today’s episode we walk through different ways you can gradually de-own, as well as declutter.

It includes sharing, hiring and borrowing things, and thinking outside the box when it comes to our needs versus our convenience.

Tell me, do you have a crew of friends or family who you share things with? Perhaps you’ve got a local tool library or a library of things that you use? I love this idea of the sharing economy and would love to know how you’ve learnt to de-own too. Let me know.



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