My Take on Minimalization: Do What Works for You!

I have come across a lot of blogs and even financial blog posts on decluttering, being a minimalist, and getting rid of stuff. These are all good things. On the other hand a few have taken it to the extreme which tends to backfire for a lot of people (including me!).

Personally I am a huge fun of only having what I need around. I am the type of person who doesn't need 800 pictures on the wall, 300 owl trinkets on shelves, and 1000 books on the shelf. I simply don't see the value in it. I suppose one could call me practical.

I found that after I returned from 18 months abroad having only what was in my backpack was a lifestyle I liked. The problem is that this doesn't translate to a more "normal" life with a full time job, a house, a car, etc. I slowly started to amass more stuff and I was pretty against it in the beginning. I now realize that some of it is necessary to live more comfortably. I am not longer "roughing it" and living with 4 t-shirts.

When I finished remodeling my new (to me) house I had a fair bit of family and friends asking me when I was going to buy furniture, decorate, etc. My answer to them was "probably never" since that stuff was not important to me. Eventually I got free or nearly free furniture, kitchen supplies, and so on. I refused to spend money on this stuff and it has paid off!

Overall I am still anti-stuff. I don't buy anything that doesn't have a specific purpose. I don't keep anything that doesn't have some sort of special meaning to me. Examples of what I do keep: quilts my grandma made, my grandfather's coin collection, family photos (in a box), journals, etc. All of these have memories associated with them. They are things I truly value. For me to keep an item long term it either has to be useful, sentimental, or both. I am not a collector!

I keep my amount of stuff under control by purging. Each year I will pick a room and start clearing out stuff I don't need or use anymore. I sell anything of value and donate or recycle/trash the rest. I believe I am winning the "war on stuff" since I have it under control. Starting with a clean slate after traveling long term certainly gave me a leg up. The moral of the story: Keep what you truly value (not simply "like") and get rid of the rest, slowly.