Owning Less (and Doing More)

Let’s start with a little life update– I’m moving! Not far, unfortunately 😉 We’re only heading to Wicker Park, a couple neighborhoods over in Chicago. Regardless, I still have to gather all my shit and pay for a group of men to do all of the work for me. I don’t wish the moving process upon anyone, but it’s been good to do a little purging… which is exactly where this article is headed 🙂 

One of the few benefits of moving every year in my past (my current Chicago apartment is the longest I’ve lived at once place since high school lol– a whopping 2 years), meant learning a valuable lesson in ownership.

Short version of this blog post: if you own less shit, you spend less money, deal with less clutter, and (ideally) learn how to be happy without many material possessions. Long version is below.

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Part 1 – Change Your Mindset 

Let me start with my usual disclaimer: I DO NOT CONSIDER MYSELF A MINIMALIST. I own a bunch of useless stuff and probably always will. However, before most purchases, I ask myself the following questions:

  • Is this something I need?
  • Is this something I will actually use?
  • Do I have something similar already?
  • Will this better me in some way? 

Not only is this a way to prevent clutter, but choosing to spend your money on things other than material possessions is often way more rewarding. Don’t take this too literally because you know what I mean. My point is to explore the alternatives– buy a concert ticket, visit a friend in a different state, save up for a trip, etc. Nine out of 10 times, your money is better spent. 

Alternatively, some “material possessions” provide an experience. Maybe you’ve been wanting to buy a bike as a form of recreation or transportation, itching to learn the guitar, or eyeing some nice cameras to take your photography to the next level– whatever it may be. Hell, I even consider a nice pair of running shoes motivation to get on the streets more. To me, these are great investments that have the potential to answer that fourth question above with a big YES. 

The biggest takeaways here are to 1)  change your mindset about purchasing things,  2) practice being more intentional about the things you purchase and 3) consider what you could use that money for instead. If your purchase makes you feel good, excited, and you think you’ll get use out of it (WHATEVER it may be, not trying to judge here) then you’re on the right path. 👍 

^ real photo of me smirking at all the stupid stuff I own and my packing methods

Part 2 – Don’t Be A Hoarder

Of course, mindful purchasing is one way to start, but most of us already own things that we probably don’t need. And nobody likes a HOARDER! Here are some ways to get on top of it:

  • Clothes – If you haven’t worn something in a year, get rid of it. If you bought pants you planned to tailor and never did, get rid of it. If you still like a shirt but never wear it because it has holes/is pilling, get rid of it. A good trick is to pretend you’re moving cross-country– would you take that piece with you? If you wouldn’t, get rid of it 🙂 
  • Kitchen – I hate kitchen clutter. Nobody needs three sets of measuring spoons, 14 travel coffee mugs, and 22 Tupperware caps without matching containers. Kitchen cleaning is unbearable in my opinion, so I’d suggest taking a day to tackle just ONE section– cups, Tupperware, junk drawer, fridge, etc. Again, if you wouldn’t move it with you cross-country, get rid of it. 
  • Miscellaneous – Nick nacks (which I just googled to spell check and it is defined as a “small, worthless, object” lol), books you finished reading four years ago and never touched again, college event party favors, and anything collecting dust– get rid of it. Of course, if you’ve got a book collection growing or you’re trying to style some shelves, do your thing, but do a little “value check” and donate that stuff! 

When you’re done “Marie-Kondo-ing” your place LOL, it’s time to reflect. For me, owning less clothes means a shorter try-on routine in the morning, giving me more time to prep a better lunch or take Winston on a longer walk. Owning less kitchen items means I’m more on top of my dish-washing, giving myself a cleaner space to live in. (It also means not taking 10 minutes to find a matching Tupperware set). Buying less books means I’m saving money by taking advantage of my public library. And as a bonus, this all means that when I inevitably move again, it’s not going to be the worst day of my life!

While this post SOUNDS a little preachy, take it as something I’m sharing as I also work on it! I’m currently packing ski goggles and gloves that I wore once three years ago because I JUST MIGHT NEED IT IN THE FUTURE. So my point is we’re all bad at this! Hope this post inspires you to give away all your stuff. 

XOXO,

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