How Much Stuff Do We Really Need?

Many of us have a lot of time to think about things we might not usually consider. You might ask yourself, “What’s really important to me?” or “Who do I want to go visit after this thing calms down?”. Or, you could be someone who is taking a good long look at all of the stuff that you have accumulated over the years. Maybe you are wondering, “Do I need all this stuff?”

It’s not uncommon to wonder. We as a nation, buy and forget about more stuff than many people in other countries will ever know. The legendary comedian George Carlin built an entire routine around people’s possessions owning them. The bit was titled, “A Place for My Stuff” and it revolved around our ever-increasing need for extra space. We get stuff, and then we need a bigger house, so we have a place to put all the things we bought. Then, looking around, we notice we now have all this extra space. We promptly fill that up too, and the vicious cycle repeats.

The term “downsizing” has become all the rage these days. Downsizing is the thoughtful paring down of all of the extra stuff we’ve accumulated because we realize that we just don’t need it anymore. Downsizing has no specific age range, although it does appear more frequently during transition periods in people’s lives. There are literally thousands of sources for strategies and methods for downsizing, but no matter how you do it, the basic premise is “less is more.”

What reasons do people have for downsizing? Well, motivation for clutter killing can spring from several different situations:

  • Children left. Let’s get a smaller house that’s cheaper and easier to maintain.
  • You are going to live by yourself now for whatever reason.
  • You realize you’re drowning in stuff, and you can’t take it any longer.

… or some variation of the above.

Do any of these situations ring a bell with anyone? Even if it doesn’t fit you right now, it is very probable that you have experienced this before in your life or will at some point. If you are ready to downsize, there are numerous ways you can go about it. It is not necessary to put everything up on eBay and move to a Buddhist monastery. Most people will feel more comfortable downsizing if they aren’t going “all in.” It could just be a temporary thing, or you could be just putting your toe in the pool. Some folks love their stuff, and downsizing feels a lot like they are sacrificing too much. Fair enough.

For those testing the downsizing waters, mobile storage solutions might be an excellent option. It’s possible to take some things out of your home and store them to see how you feel. If it feels good, you can try storing some more stuff until you feel satisfied with the results. At that point, you have the option of donating to an organization like the Salvation Army or making a little extra traveling money on eBay. Who knows? Minimalism may agree with you more than you think.

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