It seems like lately, everyone, from your neighbour to your vet, are jumping on the minimalism wagon. People all around you are telling you how they’ve donated half their closet, moved into a tiny house and are no longer buying dish soap (now that’s just gross). What is all the fuss, you wonder? Have people gone mad?
In this post we’ll cover just that! That is, answering the question: “Is less really more?”
But first, let me tell you a little story.
My mother is and always was a bit of a hoarder. She’s the type of person to go to a 5 star hotel and stuff her purse with free conditioner bottles. She calls her weekly grocery trips “shopping therapy”. In the off chance that’d we’d ever throw anything out, a big fuss would be made over it. Growing up in my household meant that material things were there to stay, whether we used them or not.
When it came to adulthood, I had a real, and I mean real, struggle when it came to… stuff. This was especially hard as during my transition from high school to university. During this period, I had to move multiple times as well as across the country. Of course I wanted all my 20 bottles of unopened perfume, all of the shoes that I hadn’t worn in years and my ever growing collection of expired make-up.
However, trying to fit all my possessions into my tiny car just wasn’t happening.
In that moment I realized it was time to trim the fat. I realized I had held onto all of these things out of the fear of losing them. I didn’t even like/want/use half of what I had collected over the years.
The night before our big move to Brisbane, my partner and I sat down and started putting things into three plies:
- Stuff we definitely wanted
- Stuff we wanted to donate.
- Stuff we wanted to burn (errr I mean recycle).
It wasn’t until we finally arrived in Brisbane with our very few possessions and very limited funds that we found out just how little you actually need to survive.
We had very little money, no jobs lined up and a hungry cat to feed. After a few weeks of couch surfing we, at last, moved into our own little apartment. We used the last of our money to buy a fridge, a washing machine and a bed. For the next two months, our only piece of furniture was a blown up matters, which we had to replace twice because of our cat.
It was hard. I remember being so embarrassed when the plumber came to fix our gas leak. He walked around in an empty home and all he saw were two hungry teenagers hoping he would help them fix their stove. We had essentially nothing to our name but the basic necessities, which now in retrospect I realize is a lot more than many other people are lucky to have. However at the time, it was hard to stay humble.
Two and a half months of literally no stuff taught me something about myself and that is that things are just that – things. It taught me to detach myself from unimportant stuff, such as the latest trends to the fanciest car, from the biggest TV to the latest iPhone and so on. It taught me that things exist to serve a purpose, a functional purpose that is meant to make your life easier. Nothing more.
Whenever I am about to get upset about having lost something materialistic, I try to and tell myself that most things are replaceable. I try to pause and look around. I try to remember how lucky I am to have a wonderful man in my life, two gorgeous cats and to be privileged enough to do the things that I can, such as write this post for you. It makes me grateful and it makes me humble. And then all my “stuff” related problems simply go away.
We all attach to material things more than we should sometimes. We all get caught up in the latest trend and trying to impress others from time to time. We forget what truly matters sometimes and that’s okay. That’s how we learn and grow.
My advice is to figure out how much stuff is enough for you. Maybe you have more than enough or maybe you desperately need more. There is no one size fits all. For me, the answer is simple. I try to find a balance and stick to it.
But for you, is less really more?
Let me know in the comments below! And remember, being broke is temporary, being rich is a journey.