Lifestyle Change: How I Plan to Live With Less Stuff

There’s something freeing about getting rid of your stuff. I started selling my old winter jackets and old phones. I started tossing unworn clothes into donation boxes and deleting pictures off my phone. With less stuff in my physical and virtual space, it felt like there was more room in my head.

When my floor is littered with stray clothes I swear I have a messy and scattered sleep to match. I even have a designated corner in my room where I throw a bunch of mail and documents I don’t have a place for. I’ll admit it, I’m poorly organized, messy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if (unchecked) I developed a hoarding habit in my old age.

I decided to make an active effort to purge a bunch of stuff. On January 1 of this year, I filled four garbage bags of stuff to donate and toss. I cleaned house on my nearly-done makeup palettes and finally gave up the clothes I wore on an annual basis. I was floored by how good it felt. It felt better than that post-purchase feeling you get when you impulse buy an item you’ve been eyeballing.

Getting rid of stuff felt better than getting new stuff. I felt free. When I get overwhelmed with financial stress I repeat one mantra:

I have no needs.

Stress over money and possessions is pretty much always bred out of a scarcity mindset that believes your needs won’t be met. I took a long hard look at my “needs” and realized they were primarily luxuries. I took an even harder look at the things I wanted to buy and recognized that more often than not, these purchases were made from a place of discontentment that could be solved by a simple shift in my mentality (cue that $6 gourmet coffee).

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how it would feel to have very few possessions. Living with less stuff would allow for more space, in my environment and my brain. Suddenly, you don’t have to worry about losing anything. You don’t cling to possessions so tightly, because you realize they aren’t an extension of yourself.

Brace yourself for a cliche, but don’t forget that when you go, you go without your stuff. There’s no use hoarding resources in preparation for an eternity without them. I’m trying to take inventory of my life and get really spacious in all aspects of my life. I’m not going to throw money at moments of boredom, insecurity, or fear.

I’m going to practice generosity and repeat my mantra, I have no needs. I will report back on the success of my lifestyle change and hopefully sleep easy tonight in a sparse room.