My parents were never compulsive consumers for themselves, the home we lived in, or for us kids. I wore hand-me-down cloths and shared a cell phone with my sister until she went off to college. When I went off to college, I took with me a hand-me-down laptop of my dad’s. At one point during that time, I even purchased a friend’s 94′ Ford Escort with a speedometer that wobbled within 5 mph +/- of the actual speed you were going for $200 as opposed to getting a new car that I couldn’t afford. I lived in the dorms mainly; so, my worldly possessions were limited to what I could pack in that beat-up 2 door hatchback. Nevertheless, I was pretty happy. I had what I needed, nothing more nothing less.
Isn’t it funny how perspectives change, though? How what you want becomes what you need?
Somewhere along the way within the last 10 years since my time in college, my possessions have increased from no longer fitting into a car, but now needing a sizable moving van! The biggest change occurred after moving into our house two years ago. When we went from 900 sq. ft. to 2000 sq. ft., there was a need to fill the empty spaces with the perfect pieces and things we had yet to buy.
Recently, I watched a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things. To say the least, I felt really challenged by the ideas and concepts presented by this film and the people in it.
For me, the most compelling aspect and the biggest take-away of the documentary is that we need to examine what we have and then question why we have it and if it has purpose and/or brings value to our lives. Patrick Rhone, author of Enough, is interviewed and says, “It’s not about having too much or too little. It’s about finding the right balance.”
I am not donating all my possessions, selling my house and living in a tiny home or striving to carry all my possession in a satchel on my back as I travel the world (no disrespect to those who do because that’s probably exactly what they need to do), but Andy and I are striving to figure out what that right balance for our family is. As a result, I am moving a lot of furniture around in the house, donating items and coming up with new design projects to make the spaces in our home work with and for less. It’s amazing how open my home is starting to feel with only a few adjustments. I, too, am beginning to feel lighter and more empowered with a sense of clarity.
Ultimately, I think it’s about being more intentional with what you have and what you need. It’s about community because instead of going out and buying something that you have a one time use for, you are reaching out to those around you to see if it’s something they have and you can borrow. It’s about financial freedom because you aren’t spending every last dime or racking up credit card debt to buy this or that. It’s about having a peace of mind and finding happiness not in what you have, but in everyday life.
“Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.”
-Daphne du Maurier