Guest Post: Accumulation is a Form of Attachment

Each week I will be posting a guest post from someone who has simplified his/her life.
This week, Leighton Herdson tells us about simplifying his life to 1 laptop, a guitar and 2 bags of clothes.

Leighton Herdson is a career, business and life coach based in the UK. He believes that reaching our goals is often about removing certain things rather than adding more. He helps individuals and companies organise and simplify their lives in order to get what they really want. Contact Leighton on Twitter @lherdson or on his website

How would you describe your simple-living lifestyle?

I call it the good life. I just keep it simple and it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. I have what I need, I always assess what I have with a simple formula: Do I actually ever use this? If no, do I really need it? I don’t think that the “maybe it’ll be useful one day” is a good enough reason to keep clutter. The mindset of accumulating stuff is just a form of attachment. This causes stress and anxiety and most of all a feeling of needing “stuff” rather than real happiness.

What was the one significant moment that made you realise you needed to simplify?

on the road jack kerouak When I was a student I moved 6 times in 3 years. The first 2 time I had SO much stuff that it took ages with my small 3 door hatchback car. Even with the help of friends I just had so much stuff, like most people do.

I moved for a third time and had finished reading a Jack Kerouac book called On The Road. I decided before I moved again I’d give away as much as I could, whether to friends or charity shops. The rest I’d sell. Anything left over got thrown away. I went on to move a number of times since then and could fit all my stuff in one car (1 laptop, a guitar, 2 bags of clothes)

What has been the biggest, positive effect(s) on you through living a simpler life?

When you let go of attachment to “things” you realise that you live life in a lighter, happier way. You notice that you need less to make you happy. The biggest pay off for me is knowing what’s most important to me and feeling less attached to things that have no real value.

Any words of recommendation for those thinking of simplifying?

Give it away to family and friends, this makes you feel good and helps others out.

If you don’t use it, you don’t need it. If you haven’t used the item for 6 months or more you could probably live without it. So try.if you own a rug you own too much jack kerouak

Has Leighton’s simplifying story inspired you?


5 thoughts on “Guest Post: Accumulation is a Form of Attachment

  1. I once moved a short distance, something like 100 feet. Even after giving away and selling many things, it took weeks of walking back and forth with boxes and boxes. Two months later. A surprise job offer had me moving again. This time they provided packers and a moving truck. Even after getting rid of even more stuff before that move, most of the contents stayed in storage for one year.
    Nowadays I buy less stuff and actively give things away.
    The very easiest way to get rid of things is to have a partner or friend do it. 🙂

    • I can relate to you completely. I got rid of loads of stuff four years ago, but have been getting rid of more and more things each year. Where does it all come from?! I ask myself. I guess it comes from years of accumulation, so it will take a while to get rid of. It’s more of a mental process than a physical one.

  2. Great post! I definitely agree with Leighton when he says you need less to make you happy. I have found as more and more things leave my home, I feel a sense of calm and peace. This is what breaking the attachment to things feels like for me.

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