Strange Night Thoughts

I have something to confess...

Today I woke up at 2 in the morning with a strange feeling.

Lately, I’ve been talking with my wife to move to another country, probably overseas.

What would I take with me? I have too much stuff! That thought woke me up today. Why does it bother me so much that I woke up and started typing this essay at 2 am?

Because it’s the harsh truth. The truth that even I, who consider myself a minimalist, still have way too much crap. Last year in March I bought a house. When I was moving, I was shocked by the sheer amount of stuff I own. Even as a minimalist for almost 5 years I had a ton of stuff. Boxes and boxes full of all the shit I do and don’t need. Clothing, footwear, electronic gadgets, computers, kitchen utensils, all the knick-knacks we’re supposed to have. When you have an opportunity to see all your stuff at once, of course, you are shocked. At least I was.

My "Precious" Possessions

A few years ago, I did a tedious task of counting all my possessions. It was a beautiful, warm spring day; April 30, 2017. I decided I wanted to know how much I really own after a few years of practicing minimalism. The total count was set at 605 (I didn’t count shared items – only items I consider my own + I didn’t group my stuff (5 pairs of socks were counted as 5 items, not 1).

  • Most of my stuff was in the clothing department – 367 pieces. Imagine how many outfits you can create with that many clothes. And keep in mind that this was after several rounds of decluttering.
  • In the accessories department, there were 84 things (tie clips, wallets, watches, sunglasses, bags, backpacks, etc.)
  • I had 20 pairs of different footwear
  • 30 electronic gadgets (computers, tablet, phones, a digital SLR camera, and all the belonging lenses, headphones, etc.)
  • In the personal category, I had 21 things (towels, skincare, etc.)
  • 20 knick-knacks for the gym and 63 miscellaneous stuff (car, bicycle, kitchen utensils, etc.)

 

A lot of stuff. A lot. This number may not sound big to some. But trust me, when you see all this stuff at once, you realize you own too much. And this big number was after several years of actively practicing minimalism.

Today, however, I have a smaller number than that. I know this because after mowing to a house last April, I decluttered once more. This was the biggest decluttering of my life. Mostly clothes. I definitely had too much. I also decluttered gadgets, footwear and miscellaneous department. Even with all that decluttering, I think I still own too much – it’s obvious if your mind wakes you up at 2 am with those thoughts.

Too Much

I once read a quote from the 1995 movie Heat in which the movie’s bad guy Neil McCauley (played by Robert De Niro) says: “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner“. This quote today woke me up. And I must admit I feel scared. Even after massive purging last April, I still own too much.

If I had to move, what would I take with me?

I don’t want to be burdened with all the stuff. In the end, I always preach that stuff is not important. And yet I still own a lot. Today I plan to count all my possessions once again. Everything will be counted. Even things most people wouldn’t count. All my underwear and socks will be counted individually. If I’m moving, I can’t say to the customs officer: “Oh yes officer, these are also mine but they are grouped. Please don’t count them in the total weight of the luggage”.

One day, however, I would like to be like Leo Babauta or Everett Bogue or any other minimalist who has less than 100 possessions.

 

What do you own that is burdening your mind? Do you know the number?

I’m curious. If and only if you decide to count all your stuff, let me know in the comments how much you own.

 

Disclaimer note: I don’t think you need to count all your possessions, but I have to admit that is a truly eye-opening and scary realization when you see everything laid out in front of you, and the count is increasing with every added item.

 

Cheers!

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