Earlier this year I wrote a blog about creature comforts, and how I love surrounding myself with nick knacks to create a cozy space. But, the minimalist movement I mentioned has been gnawing at me. Don’t get me wrong, my elephant figurines aren’t going anywhere, but I’ve decided it’s high time I took a second look at my things to decide what I actually need.
As a young professional, I started reading Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Revisited to learn how to make smart money decisions early on. In one chapter Ramsey discusses a concept he calls “Stuffitis,” or the worship of stuff. I took one look around my house and all I saw was stuff. Things that provide ZERO purpose, they simply exist to take up space. More often than not I made a poor purchasing decision and have been trying to justify it by displaying it prominently on my fireplace mantel. When I looked I saw two couches (I’m one person, why do I need TWO couches?), decorative tea pots that don’t actually hold tea, old textbooks and electronics, throw blankets, too many clothes, the list goes on. I am one person + two dogs, how could I possibly have accumulated so much stuff?
As Ramsey stresses discipline and contentment I am reminded of something my mom has always said “I can’t take it with me.” This truth humbles me and teaches me I can be content with what I have. Instead of indulging an impulse buy I can direct that money towards more responsible or charitable directions. If you stop for a moment and think about whether or not you really need a new jacket, you exercise discipline. When you choose not to buy it, you realize you are content with what you already have.
Luckily for me I am moving, which means now is the time to purge! I have boxes full of donation items, at least 5 listings of items to sell, and I’m not even close to being done yet. I am going room by room, looking at every item, and trying to decide why I should keep it. I’ll admit, a lot of my stuffitis comes from gifts. It’s hard to part ways with the 5 jewelry boxes you inherited from your great-grandmother.
Here’s what I can do, I can purge everything I don’t use that doesn’t hold sentimental value. The sentimental, yet unused, items can go in a storage bin. This bin can sit safely in the closet, tucked away from the world until it’s time to pass them on to my own children. Going forward I can, as Ramsey says, exercise some discipline and contentment by not buying new “stuff.” Don’t be like me and wait till you move before you purge. Sell some stuff or better yet grab some boxes and build a donation pile. I guarantee there are people out there that need your “stuff.”
About the Author
+Michelle Genova is a consultant at Morrison, providing business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and strategic planning), feasibility studies, recruitment, interim executive CFO services, competitive grant writing and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Michelle directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at 530-893-4764 ext. 209.