Having Too Much Stuff

A lot of people, myself included, battle the accumulation of excess things. There’s a meme about minimalism vs. hoarding out there that goes into it, essentially that growing up without much makes it hard for people to let go of things they don’t necessarily need. I am not from a rich family.

A lot of people like to hate on minimalism because it’s “Just Another Boring Product Wealthy People Can Buy“, which the original post mentioned later in the thread. If that’s how you feel, by all means, live your life how you want. I certainly agree that white-on-white as an aesthetic is disgusting, and it’s why most American houses and apartments are hideously boring places I wouldn’t want to live. But to me a much worse aesthetic is “piles of stuff everywhere”. It’s visual distortion, and being in an ugly environment negatively affects my mood if I actually look at it.

The biggest trouble for me is that “the things you own end up owning you”. The more stuff you have, the less freedom you have, in more than one way. It could be less freedom to live in a small space, less freedom to get a piece of furniture someone’s giving away because it just wouldn’t fit, or less freedom to move to a new place because you’d need 8 days and a 60-foot moving truck to haul everything. It’s also less financial freedom because you’ve bought too much stuff, are spending a good chunk of your paycheck on a huge storage unit, or had to pay the movers for an extra 4 hours to get everything loaded.

If everything you own fits in your vehicle, it’s a whole lot easier to go live in a different city if you want to. More freedom.

It’s really hard to unlearn the collecting of things. A shelf full of books that you might read one day is easy to keep when the alternative is to get rid of them only to need to buy one of them again two years later because you suddenly got really interested in the topic. It’s hard to know whether keeping stuff or getting rid of stuff will be more expensive.

I think a good way to think about it is whether you would replace a particular thing if there was a catastrophic fire that destroyed everything you own. If the answer is yes, then by all means keep it. If the answer is no, maybe think about getting rid of it. There’s a lot of “I don’t know” gray area in that, but it’s a decent guideline.

“I might need this some day” is a cursed phrase.

For most objects, they’re just things and they don’t matter. The only real Human needs are food, shelter, a powerful laptop, and a good internet connection.