The “Stuff” You Need

We’re moving in a few weeks.  I’m pretty sure nothing makes you hate Stuff more than having to move it.  So midst the packing, selling, donating, and repacking hubbub, I got (what I thought) was a brilliant idea.

I packed all the important stuff first.  Like all of our clothes, and toiletries, and… our clothes.  Granted, in our case, it’s not a bad idea.  Our new lease doesn’t start until August and we’re going to be at our parents’ in the interim.  I wanted to make sure that I knew what we would need in that time so I didn’t pack it into a storage box by mistake.  Though now I’m running into the problem of living out of a suitcase three weeks ahead of time….hmm.

But this little hiccup has given me a lot of insight into the idea of simplicity while traveling.  I haven’t traveled in a long time (like ten years), but moving short term asks the same questions: when it really comes down to it, what do I want to have with me in those six weeks?  And more importantly, what am I going to want to pack and repack a bajillion times in those six weeks?

My answer looks like this:
And if it really came down to it, I could omit the striped bag and fit the smaller black ones in my yellow one.  Ta-da!  My entire life in one suitcase.
Then the question arises: well, if that’s really all I need, then what is all this other stuff!?  Now I’m not advocating throwing out all you own and living out of suitcase just because you can, but I do think that once you see the essentials you could get by on, you need to ask yourself how to be more selective about the excess.  We live in a culture that has now come to accept excess as essential, and we need to go out of our way to remind ourselves that it is not.  We can live on less; we should live on less.  Storage facilities would go out of business; as would big box stores that make their money by selling cheap, disposable Stuff.

Once we get down to the Stuff we need, then we can focus things we really need, like how to care for one another, how to live calmly, and how to interact with our world in a way that isn’t destructive.  Lately, I’ve been focused on all the things we need to replace for our new apartment—a new bed, a new couch, a new computer, on and on—but the truth is I’m reminded by this little packing mishap how little I really need and how much I already have.

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2 thoughts on “The “Stuff” You Need

  1. This is Awesome!! I really love it! I’ve been thinking about that same concept. I recently got rid of all my old shoes that I don’t wear anymore, but somehow thought I needed it for years. The concept of downgrading is so essential for us to realize what we really have. Not things we have, but people, and love, and blessings. Thanks so much for this post! It really helped me get my life and priorities back in focus. LOVE YOU!

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