Getting rid of excess stuff, in the house and in my mind

There has never been a time when there was more on my to-do-list than right now. With the plan to move to another country, comes a sh*tload of things that have a serious deadline. One of these things is get your physical stuff together, or better yet: get rid of it. Not all of it, but it’s safe to say I want to get rid of most of it.

The bigger question here that gets answered along the way: what is really important to me?

I am just getting started, but I am already feeling the benefits. It doesn’t only clear my house, it clears my mind too. What do I really need, what do I really love and what am I spending my hard earned money on? And the bigger question here that gets answered along the way: what is really important to me?

From a lot… // photo by Annemarie Gorissen
…to a little // photo by Annemarie Gorissen

At a certain point along our preparations for this move M and I were talking things over and we decided that we would get rid of áll of our stuff. We can buy a new dining table and a new sofa when we know where we end up. Our furniture is quite big and it’s not a sure thing it’ll fit. We would just move by airplane, with two big suitcases! Who needs stuff anyway? A clean start, oh the freedom!

We would just move by airplane, with two big suitcases! Who needs stuff anyway? A clean start, oh the freedom!

Of course soon enough the first exceptions came up. Uhm, I need my big computer screen. And it would be crazy to get rid of our beautiful dinner plates we have selected so carefully. And that big heavy pan that lasts a lifetime and we love to cook in? What would it cost to replace everything? And even if it’s cheaper to replace it, will we find the same quality and style we’re so happy about now?

Feather // photo by Annemarie Gorissen

Fast forward a bit and we’re not quite sure actually. We agreed that íf we take bigger things with us it will only be those things we really love. Yes, we have 6 chairs around our dining table. And we’ll need at least two, but honestly there is only one of them we actually love. So that one is a candidate… Well, we have some time to figure it out.

But even with the final decision yet to be made, it did give me clarity about what we can get rid of anyway and that is a lot! The big clean out has begun. I’ve read several books on minimalism, listened to podcasts, watched TedTalks and documentaries. They all say the same thing: a decluttered house makes way for a decluttered life and therefore a decluttered mind.

I grew up here in this money driven, consumer based society. Shaking that off does not happen over night.

And guess what? I experience exactly that, and I am not even halfway through sorting my sh*t out. But it feels so good to go through closets and drawers and boxes. And it’s not just about cleaning up and getting rid of stuff. To me – and this is emphasized a lot when people talk about minimalism – it is above all about ‘living intentionally’.

I think I know where I am heading //photo by Annemarie Gorissen

I no longer buy stuff I don’t need. Everything I buy now is something that is either finished by the time we move (usable products like shampoo) or that will come to Italy with us. I have not found a single thing since I started that fits in that last category. We need less stuff, not more. I think about every (potential) purchase and the answer to ‘do I need this?’ is no. And the ‘do I want this?’ question is getting a nope a lot more often too. Hello space, hello money, hello zen!

I find it is necessary to take your time for a change like this. Just throwing things out is not going to change your mind set. I am easing into this new way of seeing things – or even ‘new way of life’ if you will. I grew up here in this money driven, consumer based society. Shaking that off does not happen over night.

No more excess stuff, everything has a purpose or is loved.

But I am starting to feel lighter and see things more clearly. No more excess stuff, everything has a purpose or is loved. Not spending hard earned money on things that you thínk you ‘need’ or at least ‘want’. Eventually that means freeing up time and space in your mind to enjoy what really matters. And stuff is rarely part of that.

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