When you pack up your life and decide to move half way across the world, you quickly learn that the less you have, the more portable you are.
Check out my article on how to sell everything you own where I discover just how much stuff we had… and how much we really didn’t need it all. While daunting at first, fast forward 6 months and the experience is somewhat surreal.
Almost like night and day
The old Brad loved things! Things that peel your apple, things that cooked a crepe, things that stored your trousers, things that cleaned your shoes… you get the point. We had a ‘thing’ for everything. And I loved to shop… oh boy, how I loved to shop.
You know those stories you hear of someone rifling through their wardrobe only to discover clothes that were bought 12 months ago but still had the tag on and never worn? That was me. I sure did love my clothes.
Being forced to live out of suitcases and also paying per kilo of excess luggage sure makes you realise how much you really don’t need to accumulate ‘stuff’ and ‘things’. But, it certainly does leave a big hole in your life – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The change in expense
Wow, so, when I was earning a decent income and living in the one place, I would obviously be pouring money into my wonderful shopping habit. When this was put on pause, (and of course, without an income) it was surprising how much money was actually previously devoted to that habit. I turned to my partner today and said “gee… it’s no wonder we don’t have a house’ – the spending was that real.
Now, I’d much rather divert those funds to surviving, eating out or having a great experience. The added benefit is of course, there’s nothing to store!
The impact on time
Without realising, our lives were previously pretty much based around shopping. We’d gradually gravitate towards the shops and end up having lunch, a coffee, spending a fortune and coming home with bags of ‘things’. Now, we are now graced with endless hours of free time when we look at each other and wonder ‘What do you want to do?’ “We don’t want to go shopping…’. Maybe I’ll write that novel after all?
It wasn’t my fault, I swear!
When you’ve separated yourself from the subconscious need to consume and actively opposing the desire to go and accumulate, it’s really eye-opening. Our modern lives are really geared towards consuming. We socialise in shopping centres. We eat in shopping centres. We go to the movies in shopping centres. We sometimes live in shopping centres. The odds are stacked against us, people. They want our cash!
So, whilst I’d be completely within reason to blame ‘the system’ on my previous consumerist habits – I will take some ownership and blame myself just a little.
The impact on wellbeing
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been under quite a lot of stress lately. I will though note how liberating it is to not have a heap of ‘stuff’ – and even when we go shopping and look at things and say to ourselves… ‘ we really can’t get that, and why would we need it now?’. Sure, I don’t get that buzz from finding something cool to buy, but hey – think of the time, money, and stress that I’m saving from having to lug whatever it is home and then dusting it constantly.
Added bonus – I also avoid that gut wrenching anxiety that comes from thinking about moving it from place to place or trying to fit it into a suitcase.
Minimalism Level: Novice
I’m no expert at minimalism. We still have stuff, we still have too many clothes. I’d say that I’m a stage 1 minimalist – I’m aware, I’m conscious and I’m an advocate. I’m far from the empty white room with just a sofa and nothing around it – but maybe that’s an ambition for another day.
Are you drowning in stuff?
Let me know if you’ve felt the burden of so much stuff. Have you tried becoming a little more minimalist? Have you been forced down that path or headed there on your own accord? – Leave a comment and let me know.