Unownership

Do you struggle with clutter? Is it hard for you to let things go? I used to hold on to much more than I really needed, but I discovered a secret to simple living: Unownership.

balance-15712_1920 Unownership: Photo os small stack of rocks on beach.

What Is Unownership?

Does it mean that you should give up all your material possessions and never own another single thing in your life? No! Unownership is not about what you legally own, it’s about how much emotional attachment you put on the things you do own.

I’m not an extreme minimalist. I’m a moderate minimalist. I own stuff. I have a house, a car, a little old truck, a bunch of musical instruments, and much more. Even so, I still live more simply than the majority of my neighbors. Here’s why:

I intentionally consider what and why I buy. It’s simple. I limit purchases and constantly let go of unneeded possessions. I don’t just practice uncluttering, I practice unownership.

It’s About Letting Go Of Attachment

Unownership isn’t in the letting go of your possessions, but rather in the letting go of your attachment to those possessions.

How emotionally attached are you to the things you own? If you can’t emotionally let go of the things you own, you won’t be able to physically let them go. You need to unown the things you cling to. You need to be willing to let them go at any given moment.

It’s only through unownership that you’ll be able to begin the process physically letting material things go and living more simply.

When you begin to practice unownership, you’ll begin to value life more than stuff. You’ll realize that material possessions are replaceable. Nothing is so important that it should come before relationships. Nothing is so important that it should come before freedom.

What If You Lost Everything Today?

I’d be lying if I told you I wouldn’t care if you came and took everything I own. I would. But I also know that nothing important could truly be taken.

Why? Because I don’t really own any of the things I have. What’s truly important is who I am. Nothing I own truly defines who I am. This is unownership. When you devalue or unown the stuff that you have, you no longer have the same emotional attachment to it. This gives you the power to let it go at any given moment. 

Unownership also makes you appreciate what you do have. Devaluing your possessions doesn’t mean that you trash them. It means that you share them. When you emotionally unown something, you are willing to share it with others. You take the value off your attachment to the item, not the item itself.

Don’t Just Unclutter, Unattach: Practice Unownership

If you’d like to unclutter your home, you need to start with unownership. You need to be willing to let go of the idea that stuff is yours. It’s not. Your stuff belongs to the world. It was made by others. It can be used to help others. Everything you own will be passed on to others.

When you accept the idea of unownership, you can begin to downsize for once and for all.

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