February 14, 2011

Revoke Your Membership

Think what you will about minimalism – an ideology and way of life for many that’s becoming more and more appealing, even, dare I say, mainstream. Why are we seeing a trend toward living with less?

Put simply, we (collectively) are coming to the realization that we simply don’t need as much to get by. Pair that with the current economic slump and the rising cost of, well, just about anything, and you can understand why de-cluttering is becoming so popular.

Over the weekend I read a quick post on Cool People Care urging everyone to go through their closet and get rid of the clothes you’ve never worn (we have, on average, 20 things in their that we’ve never – repeat – NEVER worn). Having already gone through this clothing-cleanse before moving back to Nashville last year, I started thinking about other things I could get rid of…

One of the first things that came to mind was to review all the websites/clubs/services I’m a member of. Things I’m paying for, or even things that are free that somewhere down the line I decided to sign up for.

Take off the Members Only jacket

Stop for a second and think about this yourself. What online services are you paying for right now? What are you a member of? How many newsletters do you get sent to your inbox each day? Make a list. Write all of them down…

Now think about which of those you actually use on a daily basis. Think about the newsletters you ACTUALLY open and read. Then think about possible alternatives. Is there a free service that can replace the one you’re paying $30/month for? Can you subscribe to a blog via RSS instead of getting that daily email?

Today I’m encouraging you to eliminate some of the virtual “stuff” in your life. Not because that stuff isn’t any good, but because you may not need it.

My example? This weekend I cancelled my Backpack membership. I have nothing but love for 37signals and the products they offer – and would recommend them to anyone looking for outstanding project management software. But for my own use, there wasn’t a need to continue paying a monthly fee when Evernote, a free application, can serve me just as well.

And in one fell swoop, I saved myself $300 this year.

So today, as we begin a new week, think about some of the virtual “stuff” you can get rid of. Your inbox, your wallet and your brain will thank you.

What is one thing you’ll get rid of today?

(Photo c/o batintherain)

Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. And this is why i’m a Suitcase Entrepreneur because I can fit my life into one suitcase and am assured that I’m wearing everything I own! There’s nothing more lovely than freeing yourself of crap and clutter. You actually feel lighter and there’s always someone who needs your `stuff’ more than you do so give generously.

    Reply
  2. Matt, this is exactly how I started this month.

    I created a list with things that I don’t need, subscriptions that I don’t use, email newsletters that I don’t read and decluttered my life, my email and kept the money in my pocket.

    So, this is something that I would recommend to people do maybe monthly. Just take 1 hour and go throught the stuff you use. It will make a hudge difference.

    Eugen

    Reply
  3. Great post, Matt! I’m by no means a minimalist. I wish I could say I could fit all my earthly possessions into one or two suitcases, but alas I can’t. That being said, I just finished my own massive cleanse as I’m packing my life into boxes. There are so many things in my closet that I a.) don’t use and b.) don’t need. My general rule of thumb: If I haven’t touched it in a year, it gets donated, sold or trashed.

    Reply
    • Now just start doing that to things you haven’t touched in a month – you’ll find even more stuff that you really don’t need. Moving to a small apartment in NYC will probably force you to downsize (it definitely did that for me when I moved to Nashville). Every couple months or so, take a look at the stuff you have around you and get rid of the excess.

      Reply
      • Exactly! I’m always surprised by how much stuff I hang onto. It’s definitely freeing to get rid of all the excess. I try to make it a point to move with relatively the same amount or less than the stuff I moved in with (minus any new furniture.). I never want to be a situation where I keep adding more and more boxes of stuff/junk.

        Reply
  4. Great post, Matt! I’m by no means a minimalist. I wish I could say I could fit all my earthly possessions into one or two suitcases, but alas I can’t. That being said, I just finished my own massive cleanse as I’m packing my life into boxes. There are so many things in my closet that I a.) don’t use and b.) don’t need. My general rule of thumb: If I haven’t touched it in a year, it gets donated, sold or trashed.

    Reply
  5. So neat that you’re writing about this today, Matt. I was just thinking that I’m subscribed to too many theatre newsletters, and that I’m going to unsubscribe to a whole bunch because they’re cluttering my email inbox. They’re free, but it’s contributing to information overload! Yay to purging :)

    Reply
  6. I’ve trimmed down the number of blogs I subscribe to from 90 to 38. It’s a wonderful thing to not have to wade through 20 or so garbage posts every morning just to get to the good stuff.

    Also, I’ve ditched just about every single ‘members’ subscription I’ve ever had. The daily emails only serve as a distraction for me when I get them on my phone, instead of providing value, so it was an easy decision for me to make. I guess newsletters just aren’t for me.

    I’m just trying to find other things to cut out – I went without Twitter for a while, but I missed it and am back, full-time. Perhaps I need to kill facebook…

    Reply
    • My RSS reader is a constant work-in-progress. I used to be great about keeping up with it and trimming things down, but I’ve honestly let it slip as of late. It’s all about making time for things, and I need to budget scheduled “reading time” into my day.

      Reply
  7. [...] Matt Cheuvront went through his life and found a few memberships and services he could do without and saved $300 in the process. What does your life not need? [...]

    Reply

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About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

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