When I made the conscious effort to purge most of my stuff, something shifted for me.
While I didn’t start my formal journey to owning less until last year, I think the idea had been percolating in my mind for a while before that. I’ve been a collector of things – clothes, books, kitchen gadgets and junk drawer content, for a long time. Some of that was out of necessity (maybe 10%?), but the rest was acquired to solve a problem. A problem I would later realize, couldn’t be solved with stuff.
Growing up, my family had the essentials, but there was always a knowing that there was never quite enough. We weren’t poor, but there were some years after my parents split up and we moved to Ireland, that we lived solely off the generosity of family members. This was my first sense of poverty and that feeling has etched itself into my identity from a very early age.
As an adult, that sense of lack has been the problem I’ve looked to solve with my spending habits. That feeling of not having enough or, more accurately, not being enough, has driven me to accumulate more clothes than I could possibly wear and more stuff than I could possibly need. It’s a perpetual need to fill a hole, so vast that all the stuff in the world couldn’t possibly make a dent in it.
How I got past my need to consume.
The funny thing is, the only thing that has helped me get over this feeling of lack and inadequacy, was to start giving my things away. More more stuff I got rid of, the more there was still to unload. And with every donation box I filled up, I had this growing sense of “enoughness” that continued to come over me. Enough jeans, enough shoes, enough coats, enough books, plates, knick-knacks and office supplies. I had more than enough of everything, but it never even occurred to me until it was focused on getting rid of it.
Isn’t that crazy?
How getting rid of stuff has changed me
Today I could honestly live with very little. A few pairs of yoga pants, my laptop, phone and family and I’d be a happy girl, pretty much anywhere. That sense of simplicity has completely changed my life, how I spend my time, my energy and my vision for the future.
- I no longer feel that I need to work a full-time corporate job. My creative work covers my basic needs, and those needs are surprisingly few.
- I no longer feel I need to keep a professional wardrobe. I live in leggings, except for the few nights a week that I go out with friends or the hubs.
- I no longer have a desire for purses, jewelry, shoes, and housewares. I have all that I need and my home was complete a long time ago. I know that if I ever needed to update something in my house or closet, I have the funds to do so, so when and if the need arises, the search for the perfect piece will start, but shopping is no longer a pastime for me. I’d rather be writing, hiking or hanging with my peeps.