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Living Simply in Silicon Valley

Simple living is about figuring out what is important to you and cutting things out of your life that don’t help you pursue what is important. You can take small steps to live simply without dramatically changing your day-to-day routine. Here are some steps that you can take in order to lead a simpler, clutter-free life.

Reduce what you consume by buying products that are meant to last. This means purchasing items that are built well and will withstand heavy use. These items might be more expensive, but they will last much longer and you will not have to spend money replacing it as with the less-durable alternative.

Instead of using a single use disposable item, consider reusing one item. A great example of this is our eco-tray program in Benson. Instead of using a paper to-go container for every meal, a single eco-tray can be used over and over again. You can also bring this container (or your own) to nearby businesses like Zanotto’s or Cramer’s Bagels! 

Is there anything that you own that could have more than one purpose? Consider looking around your living space to find items that can serve multiple purposes. Recycling something that you already own to fit your needs instead of purchasing something new is a great way to eliminate excess in your life. One way that SCU students have repurposed their goods is in the annual Eco-Fashion & Art Show where students turn hard-to-recycle items and possessions into beautiful pieces of clothing.

Eco-Fashion Show 2016 models backstage posing

If the concept of living simply confuses or scares you, there are many resources out there to help you gain a respect for it. You can study other cultures that have a focus on a less materialistic lifestyle through a class, video tutorial, or book. One example is with Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” Which focuses on living simply by reevaluating what is important to you. According to Kondo, “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” If we can care about the things we own (and have higher quality items so there is no need for replacement) and avoid clutter and excessive materialism, then we can lead simpler, more sustainable lives.

Sustainability