A Story of (my) Stuff

© johannes - Fotolia.comFor me, a smaller space will enable a certain kind of simplicity in living. This will also require some tough decisions. We will of course need to begin taking a serious look at reducing stuff.

I’ve never been very fond of moving, and our last move was a very painful and rushed experience, so it will be best to plan ahead now. New beginnings allow a redefinition of what makes a comfortable home.

So here’s the plan: Make a list of all the must haves in the new tiny house, and everything else will be sold, given away, donated, etc. The biggest yard sale (tag sale, rummage sale, garage sale, attic sale, or whatever else you may call it) I have ever had will happen this spring, and the plan is to donate all the proceeds to charity. That will make parting with some things much, much easier.

It will feel really good to reduce the burden of stuff – less to maintain, less to clean, less to replace due to planned obsolescence. Things accumulate over time. Just remember one thing. I am not judging anyone. I am simply evaluating my own situation.

Some people I’ve met have tiny and maintainable junk drawers, while some other folks have a tendency toward hoarding. A few close people to me have series disorders. I still love them, however every time I visit, it makes me rethink my own situation. I’m somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, and it feels exhausting. Even just this week, I needed to prepare to move my office desk to another workstation, and I realized that I have had a file cabinet full of papers a nick knacks accumulating over the last four years that don’t really help me with my job, nor do I appreciate having as many of the decorative items around. So, a lot of it hit the recycle bins.

I’ve seen how little I can get away with – first year of college, I had so little in my dorm room, – snacks, music, clothes, and very little else – and guess what? I survived. In contrast, over the years I’ve also had difficulty keeping things like garages and basements from filling up with detritus. When finally dealing with a mess that gets out of control, it does feel good. The stuff in our houses can be like goldfish in a bowl, regardless of how much wealth someone has, it seems really common to have more and more as the amount of space you have grows.

The smallest apartment I’ve had was about 28 m² (300 SF), and the largest house was about 167m² (1800 SF) – still far under the national average. The smaller places I’ve lived don’t always feel better, and that’s a matter of how they’re designed. Natural light, storage, layout, quality of finishes – all of that will be completely within my control, this time. Oh, and any future ‘stuff’ will be purchased with an eye towards versatility, durability, and environmental impact across all stages of the life cycle.

The last box I should have to pack for a house move will be 2440 x 6100 x 2590 mm (8 x 20 x 8.5 ft), made of steel, and will not require unpacking when arriving at a new destination; wherever in the world that may be. Have a yard you want to sell, or rent or barter? I’ll need a place to park the new container home when it’s finished.

The irony of it all; most of the stuff I have likely arrived on a store shelf by way of shipping container in the first place. This story is just beginning. When the big sale/giveaway time happens, I’ll be sure to share some key stats and photos.

If you’ve not had the chance, I recommend you check out the short 21 minute documentary, “The Story of Stuff” from 2007. It’s free to stream. My takeaway, if nothing else, is that I’ve developed a heightened sense of awareness the next time I buy something. Perhaps you will as well. We’re all in the same closed ecosystem together.

Watch “The Story of Stuff” directly on YouTube.

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