What Can Minimalism Do For You?

When we moved to this new flat a couple of weeks ago, I was amazed by how much stuff we’d acquired since we arrived in Finland. Not that we have a whole lot even now, but we’ve at least tripled what we’d arrived with. Most of it is necessities, cookware and kitchen stuff, houseplants and office supplies, and Katie’s art supplies and Legos. I continue to question everything I purchase, both before and after I buy it, to make sure I’m not acquiring things I don’t need. What can minimalism do you for you? It can help you eliminate the useless and trivial and allow you to make room for what’s really important.

I know that it annoys people that I continue to brag about getting rid of nearly everything I own, and that when we landed in Finland all of my possessions fit inside two suitcases and a laptop bag. It is one of my proudest accomplishments, though. It helped me to realize what I was capable of. We wouldn’t be here, Katie wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to a great university for her graduate degree, if we were weighted down by stuff. We wouldn’t be able to continue traveling if we were burdened with having to pay off, move, and store more possessions. If Katie ends up getting a teaching gig elsewhere in Europe, or in Asia, or somewhere in Africa, we can pick up and go with no hassle. Lean and mean. Streamlined. That’s the way to go.

My passions in life are to write, to visit interesting places, to spend quality time with friends, and to take care of my wife, the order changing as necessary. When owning stuff helps accomplish those goals, that’s stuff I need. When it doesn’t, and actually impedes doing those things, then it’s just an anchor. Owning things for the sake of owning things is decidedly not on my bucket list.

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