I used to think the amount of stuff I collected spoke to abundant living; that upgrading to a larger house every few years to store my stuff was the mark of success. Then I found myself with three toilets to clean, a closet full of clothes I didn't want to wear, and a garage full of boxes we never opened.
“Letting go of stuff allowed the world to collapse behind me as I moved, so I became nothing more or less than who I simply was: Me.”
I've changed my mind about stuff.
My husband and I recently downsized from a house to an apartment, our square footage cut in half. We've aptly named our apartment Hotel House. Yesterday I cleaned and it took me less than an hour.
Last summer we road-tripped across America, from west to east and back again. When we reached Ohio, we decided to sell our house in Oregon without knowing where we'd live next. The house sold in a day and as we drove the thousands of miles to get back and start the move out process, we began dreaming of a life spent on the road. But we also really wanted to try city living.
In Hotel House, our goal is to be in a continual state of purging. If we don't use something, we don't keep it. Even as we buy new clothes, our focus is experiential living - not having stuff just to have it. What we buy has to gift us with an experience.
Abundant living, for us, is being grateful - and not having stuff.
We aren't collectors, we are explorers.
I used to dream of having a massive home library, shelves to the ceiling with a rolling ladder. Now, the only books I keep are ones that have affected me in one way or another - every single one littered in highlights and notes in the margins. I give away more books than I keep.
As an introvert, my home is my castle - my safe place, my retreat - but it doesn't need to be the size of one. It's quiet, cozy, and free of clutter. Looking out our two windows is a city waiting to be explored, and Hotel House encourages me to spend time outside.
Mat and I dream of retiring to an Airstream after the city fills us up, carrying only what we need. We keep our stuff to a minimum now because our intention is to downsize again; a reminder our stuff doesn't own us. We never want to be fearful of leaving one place behind to discover another.
It's okay if you have stuff, don't let our leaning toward minimalism make you feel bad. Our choice doesn't have to be yours.
Be generous with what you have, and be thankful.