I do not own a lot of stuff. A side from boat equipment and kitchen utensils I probable have 15 t-shirts, 15 shorts, 4 pairs of footwear (I have no idea why since I go barefoot as often as possible), a few other articles of clothing (pair of jeans, pullover, slacks, ect), my computer and three hard drives, and a few keepsakes. If needed I could probable pack everything into two bags and say goodbye to the boat. Of course people expect that I have stuff back in storage and I guess they are right. I have 4-5 boxes of keepsakes (half of which is my grandmother’s nativity) at my parents and 3-4 outfits in Dallas, Kansas City, and Denver (this way I can travel without carrying stuff), but that is it.
You see even though I come from a keep up with the Jones country mentality, where success is considered a person that has a huge house and fills it with stuff, I shed that side of myself and am so much better as a person and happier as an individual. I chose to change live styles and pursue memories and experiences over stuff, material goods or even an office space downtown houston. Does that make me un-American?
When it was time to do this I put stuff in three piles: may need on a boat, un-replaceable keepsake to be saved (before mentioned nativity), and get rid of it. It was that simple…..really. The get rid of it pile was reduced over two weeks by first buying a house in Brantford and having an estate sale at my house one weekend and the next weekend taking it to the Mile High Flea Market. In between those weekends friends and family came over and bought (or in some cases chose to take J ) what they wanted. The furniture that did not sell at the estate sale was put on Craig’s List. In the end I had a couple boxes of VHS movies (I could not even give those away, haha), some uninteresting books, and a few odd items. The final step was easy….can you say Goodwill? If it did not sell during all that then it was not going to!
I am here to tell you that that two week period was one of the happiest periods of my life. It felt so invigorating to not be bogged down by material things like an albatross around your neck. Plus I learned how little you actually need in your life, which to be honest is very, very little. Regardless of what you think.
Even if you are not going for a life style change you can always declutter your life. For me it was easy, but I was the person that always looked forward to spring because it meant spring cleaning. My mentality was always “have I used this in two years? Nope, then out it goes. I can always buy a new one if it is needed!” But for those of you less prone to getting rid of stuff (I would say pack rat, but that would be an insult to the abilities my dad has at stashing things away J ), you may want to read the Marie Kondo Method. This is book about decluttering from a Japanese author. I admit I have not read it, but the bullet points I saw seem like a good start to help you join me in the un-American, non-materialist group of people.