Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Burden of Your Stuff

When my boyfriend and I moved in together, we decided not to consolidate all of our things, because in a strange way we were both attached to our stuff as if it was what defined our individual identities. So we stored half of our stuff in the attic and stuffed the rest of it all over the house and while we knew we didn't need half the stuff we owned, we weren't quite ready to part with all it.

As we prepare for our upcoming move (to a smaller apartment), things seem to have changed. For starters, we're married now, so it seems a bit pointless to have 2 blenders, 2 mattresses, 2 coffee makers, 2 microwaves, 3 TVs and who knows how many pots and pans in one household. More importantly however, we just want to own less and as Kirsten Dirksen describes, in her article, The Burden of Stuff, make a move toward voluntary simplicity. One of the main reasons I love our new apartment is actually that it has more living space and less closet space and it is forcing me to take a good look at all of my belongings and decide which items will provide me with enough happiness to make it worth the burden of owning it.

As I look through all the years of stuff I've accumulated, I am realizing that I'm just holding on to all these things because I've become attached to them. I'm attached to inanimate materials that just take up space, require cleaning and make moving a pain in the ass. Do I really need to own 5 toiletry bags? Do I really need to pick up the free pens if I already have a stash of 50 pens at home? Do you really need to buy 2, to get 1 free, if all you really need is 1? Do you need the save every t-shirt you're given? Accept every freebie? Or buy the same shirt in 3 colors?

So here I am sitting in the middle of my overstuffed house, ready to cut my belongings in half, not just because my husband is contributing the other half, but because I am tired of carrying the burden of my stuff.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" Leonardo da Vinci