I had to move recently and it made me realize just how much stuff I have. I never considered myself a materialistic person. I don’t think many of us do but when you have to move and you see everything in huge piles of boxes you realize just how materialistic we all are.
So I implemented a rule I saw on Oprah once. If you haven’t used an item in six months then you don’t need it. I didn’t think that was long enough so I made it one year. After my move I didn’t unpack everything. I unpacked only the things I needed immediately and left everything in their boxes in the basement. As I lived, if I needed something I would find it, use it and keep it out.
Wouldn’t you know, almost all of my things stayed packed up in the basement. I couldn’t believe it. I realized I needed very few things. I wanted a lot of things, but I needed very few of them. This made me become a minimalist for no other reason than I don’t need all the things I thought I needed.
I thought about why I had so many things and came to the conclusion that I had a lot of things because I wanted people to think I had a lot of things. It’s silly but in our society people judge us by the amount of things we have. The person with two cars is “better” than the person with only one car and is definitely better than the person with no car. The person with a walk-in closet full of clothes is “better” than the person who only has a few items of clothing. People thinking we are not poor is important to us. The type of society we have is one in which poverty is a crime. Poor people are not welcome so we all pretend we have a lot more than we do so people won’t think we are poor.
I used to care what people thought about me and my possessions. I, like others, pretended that I had a lot more than I actually did. I realized that I accumulated so many items because I didn’t want people talking about me not having things. It all seems so stupid now. I am not so insecure anymore.
I have had people comment about my four cups in the cupboard. My four forks, four knives, my four plates, my three pots etc. I used to care and be embarrassed but now I don’t care. I find that I have grown a lot more secure than I used to be. I simply explain that I have only what I need. They are flabbergasted when I tell them that if I haven’t used something in a year, I give it away. They say, but everything is so empty. I say, yes it is because that’s the way I like it. There is no clutter. There is no mess and the next time I move, everything I own fits into one van. It’s awesome.
Now when I go shopping, I almost always walk away without buying anything. I always ask myself, “do I want this item?” or “do I need this item?” If I need the item then I buy it. If I merely want the item, then I have trained myself to walk away. Sometimes it’s hard but I do it. It took time to get used to the bareness of my home but now I love it. I have absolutely everything I need. I know where everything is and nothing is wasted.