A holiday from stuff

  Spending a year living on a building site helps you work out one thing very quickly; you don’t need as much stuff as you think. 

We moved straight from a house bursting with stuff to being forced to edit down what to keep with us in the new house for the next 12 months of renovations. 

At first we still felt the need to keep hold of a lot of things in case we needed them (invariably for a one-off occasion) but space became more valuable as work progressed and bits of wood and tools took over every room. 

So we continued to ask the same question over and over: ‘do we really need this?’ Invariably the answer became ‘no’. 

Over time we were forced to edit down our things to such a level that we had all the clothes that we both needed within one drawer each, but still there was a nagging feeling that we could cut back more. 

This end result was the opposite to what we imagined when we set a plan in motion to have a bigger house. We always believed more space would make our lives better as we would have room for all the possessions we had and room to grow (ie. get more things and have children who need even more). 

The sad truth is that our possessions were almost part of us, they defined us and sadder still we didn’t think there was anything wrong with that. Having one small space of our own within the building site was undoubtedly tough and made for one of the hardest periods of my life but it taught me a valuable lesson: the space or the amount you have isn’t the issue, it’s what you decide to fill it with. 

Visiting the storage unit, filled with our old life was difficult. Being confronted with all the items we had held onto made me feel suffocated and held back as opposed to comforted and happy. For the first time I started to realise that possessions actually get in the way of life and living out of a drawer was extreme but highlighted a simpler life that was better than the one we had originally envisaged. 

It reminds me of that feeling of freedom you have on holiday, when you are away there are no worries or stresses as not only are you away from the normal grind but everything you need is in one bag. I can’t imagine going on a trip carrying cases full of everything we normally hold onto just in case we need them, this would hold me back and make it such a struggle I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the time away. So why do we hold on to all this stuff in our everyday lives? 

Why carry around so many possessions and the burden that comes with that when we don’t need to? The majority of boxes full of essentials we had kept hold of for years are now gone (donated to charity or given away) and I’ve never felt better. 

F

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