I’m reading this amazing book called “More or Less” by Jeff Shinabarger. The book revolves around a question: “What would happen if we created a culture in which we gave away whatever was more than enough for us?”
I love this question so much because it invites us to focus on both abundant thinking and radical generosity. So many of us have far more than we need and yet there are other people who lack food, shelter, clothing, and basic necessities. “More or Less” offers tools and fresh ideas for how to determine how much is enough, and how you can share your excess for the betterment of your community.
Here are a few of my favorite ideas from the book:
Decide How Much is Enough
How much is enough for you? Take time to reflect on your lifestyle, your priorities, and your core values. Decide purposefully what you truly want and need to keep. What is your version of “enough”? Consider paying attention to the items you use on a daily basis and especially to the things that are just taking up space and collecting dust. Could those items help another person live a better life?
Pay Attention to the Needs of Your Community
Start paying attention to the people around you. Are there people in your life or community that are in need of items you already own and seldom use? Practice giving away your excess items. Give generously and without strings attached. You might even try giving away something you really do like. It feels pretty amazing to surprise and delight others with your generosity.
Shop Your Pantry, Feed the Hungry
Do you have a clear inventory of the food stocked in your kitchen and pantry? How many weeks could you and your family last living off the food sitting in your kitchen right now? Most people are astonished to find out how much food they own once they pull everything out and take an inventory. Try “shopping” your pantry for the next few weeks before you head out to the store. Use what you own before bringing in new items. Do you have more than enough? Pull out items that you know you’ll never use and donate them to the homeless, or bring them to your local food bank or charity.
Donate Your Spare Change
Gather up all of your change from your car, your house, and your coat pockets. Count it up and donate it to an organization in great need. If you can, add up at least thirty five dollars in change, you can send it to Amnesty International. They will use your donation to help fight for basic human rights for people across the globe. Most people don’t even realize how much change they have strewn about. Choosing to make a difference in the world with it is a total win-win.
When you take the time to determine what feels like enough in every area of your life, you can initiate meaningful and impactful change by giving your excess to others. As Shinabarger writes, “The good life is not found in luxury; rather it is found in a life that enhances the life of another human.” I’m off to clean out my closet again!
Images: Vivian Johnson Photography