A Double Benefit – Minimalism and Charitable Giving

Despite having a short “Can Watch” list of TV Shows for summer, I am behind on viewing of my favorite shows. While you could argue that watching reality TV is the very opposite of simplification, I find the low brainpower threshold it requires, to be a welcome respite from the stresses of the everyday; and so, as an extremely proud Canadian and fan of “unscripted” TV I find myself drawn to the Amazing Race Canada.

So it was that earlier this week I found myself watching back-episodes of the Amazing Race – a show hosted by Olympian and Canadian Hero John Montgomery – and as many will know this season the theme is Heroes Edition, and all of the race teams embody heroism in some way. Team Volunteers – the Brother and Sister team of Martina and Phil did something early in the episode that both warmed my heart and inspired me to put pen-to-paper or rather fingers-to-keys for today’s post.

Martina is by her own admission not the most athletic of the racers on this year’s season, and were she not a hero, her willingness to show that the race can be run by someone who isn’t an elite athlete would be inspiration enough; not to mention the incredible team work Canadians are witnessing as her brother works to support her through the race. As a result in the second episode they made the decision to consolidate their gear into one pack and have Phil carry it through the remaining legs of the race.

In previous seasons we have seen teams shed one of their packs, but something a bit different happened on episode 2, they decided to donate their extra pack to homeless man on the streets of Vancouver [Video] along with some purchased food and water. While I am not sure if I think filming the vulnerable man’s reaction was informative or exploitative, I am sure that this act of kindness and generosity had multiple benefits.

So too, can minimalists find multiple benefits as we seek to reduce the amount of stuff in our lives, stuff which often times is gently used, in excellent condition and can be of use or benefit to others. When we donate our goods we find peace and simplicity in our lives, and in our homes as we declutter our environments; and at the same time we benefit from the feelings of generosity that come with making donations to those who are less fortunate.

In minimalizing your stuff, you may choose to sell some items according to your own needs and budgets, but where possible I encourage you to look for ways to donate your stuff in a way that will benefit those less fortunate in our communities. Phil and Martina were able, in the middle of the amazing race, to find a way to unburden themselves of stuff that was quite literally weighing them down, and do some good; surely we call can do the same when we have the space and time to consider all of our options.

Yesterday, I worked my way through my extra (I had three and now I have two) book shelves and about 50% of our kitchen. Everything got packaged up and donated to the local charity thrift-store, quickly and before any of the decluttered items could be “reconsidered”.


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