I've never been one to amass collections of anything. I've moved…a lot. A lot a lot a lot; like "over 30 times before moving out after high school" a lot. My first apartment things were clothes, a bed, two chairs, a kitty, my paintings, and a clunky desktop computer but no desk. In the next apartment, very little changed except that I bought a desk and had made a few more paintings. My places were empty to the point that, when I opened my front door to accept some late night vegan pizza, the delivery guy asked if I was moving out.
Things stayed sparse for three reasons:
- I had no money.
- I am quite picky and always hold out for what i want.
- Every time I moved (almost once a year), I purged my belongings.
Eventually I was able to have a fairly well-stocked home, a gorgeous steel dining table, a few mid-century pieces, my giant easel and… then one morning, my Droid buzzed about new e-mails: I found a message alerting me that my five year goal of moving to Thailand to volunteer would happen in three months.
Moving our things was NOT an option and I didn't want my most cherished belongings sitting in some dark storage bin, of no use to anyone. We had to get rid of everything. We spent the next few months on Craigslist and eBay and hauling things to vintage shops.
When you begin to sort out, label, and sell every single thing you own, you are overwhelmed with HOW MUCH you actually have. Then, once things start to disappear and shelves empty, you notice something; your daily life is the same and you don't miss the stuff.
Have you ever gone on vacation and completely enjoyed your life, even wishing you didn't have to go home? You probably only had a suitcase or two with you and yet you managed to function.
Now, I'm not telling you to sell everything you own and move to another country. I'm not saying owning things is bad. Just that being able to let go of everything has taught me how little we all actually need.
During my packing one day, I watched Up and couldn't help but identify with the old man when he cut his home free. He learned that although he had lovely memories attached to a home full of things, those things weren't actually his memories. In his case — and mine — he had to release it to make room for something amazing