Too Much Stuff
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We have – what, about 45 cubic feet in the back of the car. The dog takes up about 10. Not a lot left for our worldly possessions. So we’ve learned to make do with very little. A few pairs of pants, t-shirts, and sweaters. Too many shoes (although I’ve worn all but one pair). And it’s turned out to be plenty. We don’t have new outfits to pull out for special occasions. But, we’re clothed, warm, and happy.
I don’t really know if it’s 45 cubic feet. It’s almost 1am and it’s too cold to walk outside to measure. We do have a measuring tape along, so I could if I cared enough.
Now that we’ve extended the length of our trip, doubled it really, I’m thinking again about what we brought. If I could have a do over, I’d change a few things. But, mostly what it’s teaching me is that we can live so much simpler. I’m sure that when we get home I’ll be thrilled to see some of the things we left behind. But, truthfully, I’m more excited to get to purge. I want to live with so much less stuff.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Tim and I both come from families of happy packrats. They have so many things that are important to them. It’s their prerogative, their lives. But, I think about my grandpa’s house. There were bundles of old newspapers, stacks of music, paths between piles so you could cross the room. I want to break the cycle.
As we’re continuing along this journey and thinking about where we want to be and what we want to do, one thing that I see clearly is that I want things to be simpler. Stuff clutters our small house. There are two closets that are stuffed from the bottom to the top. Furniture lines the wall space and has even started to collect outside. We can’t say no to a free solid wood dresser. There’s too much potential. But, it overwhelms me. I don’t know when I’ll ever need 86 glasses at the same time, those pants that shrunk in the closet, or my old cell phones. Some things stay because they have nostalgic ties. There are texts on those phones from when Tim and I were dating. The glasses are a collection of yard sale finds and treasures from grandparents who are gone now. They’re old, beautiful, and have the class of a different era. The pants have no excuse.
We could make do with four glasses. If we need more, we can borrow. But, we don’t do that much anymore, do we? Everyone has their own everything. Lawnmowers, sleeping bags, and barbecues. Extra sheets, towels, and a guest bed for the guests that visit twice a year. Snow boots, hats, and mittens (silly for us in California). One or two of these things isn’t a problem. But, we have 9 of the 10 things on the list. Add that to the four boxes of Christmas decorations, the tent we’ve used once, and the Halloween costumes, and it’s enough to break my brain.
I wonder, are we really using our space well? Are we making good use of our things? I’d like to make do with more of the essentials, and live without some of the extras. We’ve joked about a possible next step for us being a tiny house on some property, or buying a van and traveling for a year. I almost want to pick one of these options just so that we can be forced to downsize. Oh, the freedom that this represents to me!
So, stay tuned for a sickeningly adorable new blog about decorating our tiny house and tiny kitchen… (Not really, but who knows at this point?)
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