It’s a new year, which means a new chance at life and a time to start over. At the start of the new year, people have a tendency to reflect on the negativity of the past year and look for ways to make themselves and their life better. Typical Resolutions include: Lose Weight, Eat Better, Exercise More, Quit Smoking, Get Out of Debt….etc.

This past year was a time for me to settle into my new job as a sustainability coordinator at a university and it was an amazing year. Not only did I find my true passion in a career, but I have learned so much about the field of sustainability. I’m not looking to reflect on any negativity (because there isn’t any), but rather review the clutter in my life and find ways to reduce that into a simpler life.

My 2011 New Year’s Resolution was to not buy new clothes, but to only buy clothes second-hand. In my Resolution Non-Solution post, I detailed my experience. The biggest lesson I learned is that a Resolution should not bring about one direct result or solution. A Resolution should impact your life in a way that brings about a positive change to better yourself and hopefully those around you.

For 2012, I am not making a Resolution, but making a dedicated lifestyle change. I am editing my life. My source of inspiration came from a TED video from Treehugger founder, Graham Hill. He challenges us to review our life and wonders if we could save money, reduce our environmental footprint and have a less complicated life? Everyone wants a less complicated life, right? The best way is to edit your life. Live within your means, not beyond.

These are my ideas to get to an edited life:

MATERIAL Things

  • Cleanse my house of pure junk. If it collects dust, why keep it?
  • Review my kitchen for unused pots, pans, cookware. I’m not Paula Deen or planning a dinner party.
  • Let go of old clothes. Especially, time to get rid of that prom dress from 1996.
  • Sell on eBay. Might as well make some money.
  • Paper Recycling. When mail or other paper enters the house, go through it immediately.
  • Get One Give One. If you bring something new home, plan to let go of something else in your home.

SOCIAL Things

  • Weekly Schedules. Dedicate more weekends and weeknights to quality time with family and close friends, less time to unnecessary errands and shopping.
  • Cell Phone. Just put the phone down, especially when in the company of real, live people.
  • Social Media. Review Facebook and make some edits/privacy changes on the Friends list.
  • Excessive Email. Unsubscribe to everything that’s related to sales or junk.
  • Community or Ministry Involvement. Find a encouraging activity for the entire family and donate your time.

I believe that the less you have, the happier you will be. If you surround yourself with material objects, you may be trying to fill a void in your life. So, the items that you do have, you will learn to appreciate and treasure more.

the author

Originally from Virginia, Jennifer C. Sellers is passionate about sustainability and conservation in South Carolina and throughout the world. She earned her BA in English from Coastal Carolina University and her MAS in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver. She is a university sustainability coordinator that implements programs and teaches people about going green and being sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @MyGreenGlasses

2 Readers Commented

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  1. NC-BFF on January 1, 2012

    Love it! Great way to start out the year.

  2. karen on January 3, 2012

    Inspiring.

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