I don’t enjoy spending money on “things." I’m grateful that we can afford our mortgage, car payments, food, and anything our pup needs. We can even afford extra stuff. All of the above is a privilege that, unfortunately, not everyone has and it's not a given; anything can change at any moment. I don't take it for granted.
CDG and I would rather go out to dinner with friends or take a day trip to a coffee shop we heard about during dinner with friends than buy the latest and greatest anything. We prefer to spend our money on experiences. And tattoos. And experiences that lead to tattoos. The best things in life aren't things, for us. If our house was on fire, I’m not sure what material possession I’d run in to save. A few years ago, I probably would have picked our computer because it had all of our photos on it, but they all live somewhere in outer space now, so I have them wherever I go. Plus, we have Instagram! I’m not emotionally tied to many objects. I have some things from my childhood, but I have pictures of those things, just in case.
A few years ago, CDG and I realized we were starting to collect "things," which was counter to the way we wanted to live, especially since our dream is to live in a 400 square foot tiny house or travel around the country in an RV. So, we asked our loved ones to donate to their favorite charities instead of buying us holiday/birthday gifts. We don’t buy gifts for each other very often. We started to play the want vs. need game when we saw something we liked. "Do I want this item or do I need this item?" If the answer is want, it usually goes back on the shelf. Of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes random things bring moments of joy and, when you need a moment of joy, the thing gets to come home with you. I'm not suggesting anyone deprive themselves entirely of the short-lived but important euphoria that sometimes accompanies buying something cute. Sometimes you just need a thing!
But I wanted fewer "things" and less clutter. I don't know how much of that desire comes from my OCD, anxiety, design aesthetic, or disdain for dusting ("things" collect dust), but "things" needed to go. While I've made strides, I still have a shit-ton (my favorite unit of measure) of clothes... clothes I'm not attached to, that don't fit anymore, that I don't love, that I’ve had since high school, that I bought for specific events and never wore again, etc. I have kept them because they fit and are in good condition, but I don't need them.
I haven't purchased anything at a mall in at least two years and I haven't purchased many clothes online. Last winter, I finally got my wardrobe to a size where I don’t need to do a summer/winter switch because all of my clothes fit in spaces in my bedroom, so I didn't have to store anything in the attic. While writing this post, I asked CDG to name something I recently purchased that fell into the "want" category. It took her a long time to think of something, which made me smile inside. But, I still have work to do.
CDG and I have been watching documentaries about tiny house living and simplifying. When we are able to sell our house, we are absolutely downsizing to a 1 bedroom apartment with over 400 but probably under 800 square feet. We also watched the documentary, “The Minimalists,” which is about —obviously— living a minimalist lifestyle. The documentary highlighted the 333 Project, which “is a minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items (including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes) or less for 3 months.” I hope that I can get to that point one day. Today is not that day, but I was inspired to give myself a goal to reduce my wardrobe by 50%.
I had 42 button down shirts (long and short sleeve combined). I got that number down to 20. I had 30 pairs of pants. I got that down to 20. It feels great so far! Next, I’ll take on t-shirts, shoes, and baseball caps. I’d love to get to a place where I am down to one dresser (I’m currently at almost 2) and a half of a closet. I'd love to believe we could move into a tiny house.
Getting our house ready to put on the market has helped immensely. We've donated or dumped so many "things." We have more to go, but I think we're both thrilled that the things we own have a purpose, bring us joy, and contribute to the life we want to live.