Minimize Stuff to Maximize Life

What is the dream? What is the end game of this experience?

For me my end game is simple and easy. I would like to have a house big enough for me and my husband with a big yard to grow some vegetables, fruits and herbs and maybe a goat and some chickens. I’d tend to our little farm, making good food, enjoying the sunshine and the fact that I don’t have to work for somebody else– just myself. I’ll make a good boss, I think. I don’t aspire to live completely off the grid or off the land but I will be happy with this scenario.

A minimal lifestyle has intrigued me only recently. To be honest I never thought I’d ever say the words “I have too much stuff!” This is because growing up, I didn’t. It was only after I got married and my husband spoiled me with a great abundance of food, clothes, gadgets, sparkly things, cosmetics, and every single thing I could think of that I had a taste of the excess.

We went out to shop a lot during the first couple of months of our marriage since we had to start from scratch. We bought everything from pots and pans, closets, TV, TV stand, DVD player, stereo, fridge, bed, airconditioning units, fans, coffee maker, etc. We didn’t have a big wedding where people gifted us these things. Bit by bit we furnished our first rental unit, made it livable and decent.

Then we kept on shopping. Sometimes we’d just go to the store, not really needing anything and leaving with bags of stuff we felt we HAD TO HAVE. I had more clothes than I could shake a stick at. Our stuff collected and piled on top of one another. Our pantry looked like a small convenience store. One Christmas season, my husband purchased a stand up freezer as big as our fridge so he can stock up on Christmas hams and cream cheese. There were two of us and we had enough food to last us a year. People we’d invite over to our place for coffee or parties would often want us to adopt them because there was no shortage of food.

There was no shortage of ANYTHING.

Two and a half years of accumulating stuff (and during that time period, the need to move four times) made me exhausted. I had to think hard about wanting or needing anything. Finally, we moved to the United States, “The Big Move” as my husband called it. Guess what happened?

Yep. We started from scratch again. I moved into the apartment that my husband shared with his mother. They already had a ton of stuff but all I had in the world now were whatever I crammed into two suitcases. Looking back now, I shouldn’t have bothered packing all my clothes and shows that I felt I HAD TO HAVE in the US. Everything I thought I desperately needed, I could have bought and replaced here. I even brought shampoo and lotions for crying out loud. Really? I HAD TO drag Avon makeup halfway around the world with me? Sometimes I want to go back in time and slap myself silly.

The difference between starting over in the US was that we didn’t have a big income. I was new to the country and waited for my SSN before I could apply for a job. Long story short, once I started earning income I began accumulating stuff again. Monthly subscription boxes to birchbox and weekly online shopping at Sephora became my main hobbies.

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

So now two and a half years after being in the US, I am exhausted from accumulating. It’s time to minimize, time to de-clutter. Time to seriously rethink each item and ask myself these questions:

  • Do I really want to drag *insert random item here* halfway around the world on an airplane when it’s time for us to retire to the Philippines?
  • Just how many different shades of *insert makeup here* do I really need?
  • And more importantly, will owning *insert item here* make my life better, improve my self worth and increase my overall life enjoyment?

I am not yet reformed but I will get there. I will get to the place where I don’t need 50 shades of pink nail polish to make me happy or 15 purses will never be enough.

The less stuff I have to burden myself, the more space I’ll have to grow and be a better person. And maybe that better person is a farmer. Who knows?