An Experiment in Less Stuff in Time for the Holidays

5 years ago

This cabinet used to be full of two sets of dishware, two sets of mixing bowls, glass bowls, bowls, bowls, bowls!!

So this past weekend I decided to declutter my kitchen. Ever since I read the book, You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too, I’ve been rethinking some things. In this book, Tammy Strobel, the author, and her husband, Logan, live in a tiny house. And I’m talking tiny -– it is only 128 square feet. Now I’m not saying I could live in that tiny of a space, but it sure has got me thinking.

It’s not about living in that amount of space, but about many things. One of which is how we let our stuff control us. Getting hooked into believing we need all these material things. Often times thinking those material things fill us up when all they sometimes do is make us want more, more, more. This is after all the American dream, right?

When we were on vacation in Vermont, we stayed in a 900-square-foot cottage. Our home is 1,100 square feet on the first level, with 1,000 feet fixed up in the lower level. We have not used the lower level in years, even though we have a lovely family room. We are content on the main floor. So while at the cottage, with limited dishware, etc. we noticed how we got along just fine. I started to really then give thought to all the STUFF I have in my house, especially my kitchen. Did we really NEED all of it?

Well, I decided it would be fun to see what I could actually get rid of. I thought I would look at this as an experiment. It’s not like I can’t go out to a second-hand store and buy something I thought we could live without but may find we can’t. But I have a feeling I won’t miss what I all got rid of. And wow, did I get rid of the stuff! The back of my SUV was full, and I mean full! I clinked and clattered all the way to St. Vincent De Paul Sunday afternoon where I happily donated all of it. I really wish I had taken a photo of my car full of all this stuff, but I forgot. You’ll have to trust me when I say it was full. I felt like Sanford and Son driving down the road.

I got rid of dishes, glassware, pans, pots and silverware that I know without a doubt we have not used in ten years. It just took up space. But more importantly, it took up energy. When I look in my cabinets now I see exactly what I have. No looking behind something, or digging to see if what I think is there, is there. It feels incredibly freeing!

What can we really live with and live without? It’s an experiment. Will be interesting to watch it unfold. But this isn’t something I find myself new to, as it is something I started about ten years ago. Thinking about what I really need verses what I want and how that affects my choices and living simply. Next I’ll tackle my living room storage cabinet and craft room downstairs which is a mish-mosh of many things.

So what is the American dream? It is different for each of us. To me it is living more simply and having time to care for my new special needs dog, Joie. Time to write, time to walk the dogs, time to share my passion for IVDD dogs and get the word out, time to read, time to be with family and friends, date night and time with my husband, John.

What do you think of my experiment? Have you done something similar?

Barbara Techel

Award winning author of Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog book series


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