Ah, consumerism

In preparing to sell our home, we put 75% of our “stuff” in storage.  It’s so enjoyable to have the open space and I want our new home to be just as open.  Now that our house is under contract and we are looking for a new home (we are moving out of the suburbs and into the city, closer to my daughter’s school), I have been thinking about that dark storage container and what’s inside.  Do I want any of it back?

I like the energy and creative space in our house now that most things are gone.  We have room to open a huge roll of white paper and doodle away for an hour.  I can let my daughter play with the pots and pans because we literally only have one of each.  I am pulling out my camera more since there is less clutter to put away.  I can breathe free.

I rather doubt that our wedding china, which we have used once in 9+ years of marriage, is adding value to our lives by sitting forgotten on a shelf in a closet.  All the wrapping paper and gift bags I’ve accumulated since who knows when? Recycle those.  Why am I keeping so many “just in case” items? Toiletries, linens, clothes hardly ever worn, kitchen appliances rarely used, cookbooks never consulted? Would I really ever start wearing that perfume, get dressed up to go to playgroup, and turn into a Martha Stewart-esqe baker or chef? Nope.  And come on.  Those binders from all the career development seminars I attended are going to be outdated by the time I return to work.  The blanket sleeper of a coat that took up a box all by itself (along with all the other sweaters I didn’t even get to wear this winter) symbolizes wishful thinking that we lived somewhere that I could wear such a fashion no-no.  No wonder it was so easy to pack it all so quickly.  We don’t need most of it.  (I DO NEED those books! Books are a huge exception.)

I don’t want to waste my time or our money on more stuff.  I want a valuable, fulfilling life without all the clutter.  I aquire new things that seem necessary upon every trip to Target… holiday decorations, kids’ clothing, and toys mostly.  In my vision of our new home, I see neatly arranged cabinets and open space.  It can’t be too far of a stretch because we already have neatly arranged cabinets in our current home.  I just want fewer old coffee mugs in them.

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10 thoughts on “Ah, consumerism

  1. Too True! David and I are not asking for China at all for the wedding. Pointless! It’s just clutter. Good luck with the move

  2. Great post! I agree- I can’t even count how many times we have “cleaned out” the garage since we’ve been married- and every time we take load after load to the dumpster and Goodwill. Stuff breeds stuff- it’s just overwhelming!

    • Thanks! I wish there were some way to get the value out of it all instead of tossing it or donating it, you know? I told B that I want to go over to our storage unit and start throwing stuff away. He hid the key.

  3. Naomi, friends of ours had the same experience in preparing to move. Three months into the new home, they still haven’t taken their old belongings out of storage and have decided to have a yard sale with it instead. Good luck with your new clutter-free life! (And now, I think I’ll attack some of our clutter this weekend, too…)

  4. We we moved we did the same thing. I eventually unpacked all the boxes. But, majority of things are in the garage waiting for their good weather garage sale. The stuff isn’t that important at all.

    Great post!!

  5. Last year a friend of mine started off every month by filling a box with his stuff. Books, clothes, gadgets, etc. When he needed something, he took it out of the box. By the end of the month, he donated the box to good will. Then he did it again.

    At the end of 3 months he had widdled down his belongings so that they could all fit in a duffel bag and messenger bag. A lot of people thought he was crazy. But it gave him the freedom to uproot when the moment came – a new job on the east coast (he didn’t have a house, but he did sell his car). 8 months later a promotional opportunity came up and he is now on san diego. Although this certainly fits his lifestyle – two years ago he was in seattle.

    The point, however, isn’t that he became mobile by simplifying his life. It is that he learned he could live and be happy by maintaining only what he really needed. As humans we are pack rats; our ancestors survived by storing anything useful for the harsh winters. I’m still struggling with how to deal with bringing new things into my life. In a connected world where everyone has smart phones and your photos are instantly available on facebook, it makes me wonder if there isn’t wisdom in the ancient unplugged world. It really says something about our modern society when the average american has thousands of times more “things” in their home than the richest kings of the ancient world. Do we really need it all?

    Do I own my things, or do my things own me? Sometimes I’m not sure.

    Take care! -Blaine

    • Blaine,
      Thanks for writing. I think your friend’s tactic is a good one, though I’m nowhere close to fitting all my “stuff” into two bags. Impressive! Still, after reading this I put a monthly reminder on my calendar to see what I can give away.
      Thank you!
      Naomi
      P.S. Your sunrise pictures are awesome. That’s such a great project to undertake.

      • Thank you for your kind words about my project, I appreciate it.

        I could never give away all my books, that’s for sure. In fact I inherited all of my friend’s old books! i have a 70lb box in my closet full of every book he kept until his minimization project. it is interesting, especially considering how much our interests overlap. To some extent, I want to give them away (they’re not mine, after all) but every time I try to I realize that the book is one that I really want to read. The rest are ones I already knew about but never got around to reading. All in all, it is a good problem to have 🙂

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