I think it was in the last few years where I noticed a trend of needing less stuff in my life, and wanting more experiences instead. For a long while now, I had a personal rule, “If it’s broken and can’t be fixed, or I haven’t used it in two years, I don’t need it.” This helped to cut down on household clutter from piling up. I’d ask this question once a year and performed a rather involved purging process. I’d spend days sorting stuff for selling, donating or dumping. I soon realized that the objects in my life began to subtract from my life rather than add to it. I also started playing less video games, watching less TV and started hiking, gardening, stargazing, sight-seeing, tasting new foods and volunteering more. I discovered that seeing and experiencing things made me feel awesome.
Slowly I downsized, starting with old books, rarely used crafting supplies, old computer parts and unused fashion clothing. I tried my best in not buying anything more than I already had, and bought to replace anything I did use regularly. We were making a slow and steady progress at paying off debt. There was even more room that I could start an eBay business from my own home.
Fast forward to today, we’ve nearly sold everything we own and soon the house as well. The only thing we now owe money on is the mortgage. I’m now less worried about the stuff I own — I’m still cautious but not overly anxious over the loss of things. I feel refreshingly released from an overall desire to impress with material artifacts that display wealth or status. I have no need to play “show-and-tell” with my friends or anyone else for that matter. Instead, I value amazing experiences and entertaining stories of interesting events.
Now that I’ve said all that, I’m not giving up all worldly goods wholesale and living as an ascetic monk. The stuff I have now or may need in the future should and will fulfill a functional need — and hopefully a multi-functional need.
I hope to maintain this “minimalist” feeling for the rest of my life.