Stuff, Things and Freedom

Posted by on Jan 21, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Me on a day trip to the isle of Gozo while living in Malta.


The very sound of the word in my ears conjures up a mental picture of boxes, closets, drawers, garages, storage units and car trunks crammed full of junk. You know what I mean. Among the clutter, there may be one or two items that you actually could use if only you could locate them, but alas they stay buried, hidden from view by a pile of debris. Most of what we ordinary people hang on to in life are worthless pieces of shit. Unlike the rich, we have no heirlooms, jewels or paintings of great value. We have mountains of plastic and cheaply made goods from China, instead. And, although there’s no sin in hoarding, often burying ourselves alive in a mountain of junk, it definitely can create unnecessary problems.

Once upon a time, I sold 98% of all my worldly possessions in order to travel the world. For the next few years, I did just that.

On the road again in the California desert

I lived everywhere but nowhere, enjoying the freedom that normally is reserved for some sixteen-year olds except I had a little money in my pocket. It was wonderful. Eventually, however, I came back to the US, bought a small house again and believe it or not eight years later, a pile of junk has reappeared. Where did it come from? How did this happen?

Although most of my junk is in my garage and it hasn’t taken over to the extent that I can’t park my car in the garage, it still bugs the crap out of me.

I of all people should have known better. To let the junk virus into my life spells certain death to freedom. It starts small but it spreads if you’re not vigilant. It is a first world problem and it’s debilitating. So, here’s five reasons why this spring, the junk starting to grow in my garage like mushrooms under a decaying log must go …

Read about minimalism here

* I can’t find anything in the clutter it creates. Sometimes, I can’t even remember that I own a specific item. When things aren’t visible, their existence becomes questionable.

* If I should die tomorrow, my poor kids will be burdened with sifting through my mess. My siblings just went through this after the sale of my mom and dad’s house. They’d lived in the same house in Maine for almost sixty years, so you can imagine the stuff they’d accumulated. I happen to live too far away to have been able to lend a hand, but the three who were in the area worked their buns off. It was exhausting.

* If I should ever decide to move again, the process will be far more difficult than it needs to be. Trust me. I know of what I speak. When I sold my house in Maine, my husband and I both lost ten pounds trying to clear our house out. When I moved into the house I’m in now, I had almost nothing to bring with me. The move was easily accomplished in the trunk of our car and left us with energy to actually enjoy our new home.

* Nobody wants your junk. Well, that’s not entirely true. Garage sales are still popular events, but even if you have the heart to set up a garage sale, there is always a pile of stuff that nobody wants. Nobody! You look at it and sigh because you have NO idea whatsoever why you kept it in the first place. But now, you’re left with no choice but to burn it or haul it to the dump. Ugh!

Last but not least, I love knowing that if tomorrow I chose to pack my little bag and head out indefinitely into the wild, blue yonder, I can do so without leaving behind a mess. It’s a symbolic gesture as well as a question of practicality. It’s hard to be a vagabonder with a bunch of stuff hanging around my neck.

Read about how to pack and travel as a minimalist

The long and the short of it is that even though I live in a small house again and own a small car, I still don’t need much. To collect STUFF makes my housework harder, takes up space, clutters my mind and gets in the way of my mobility. Furthermore, I’m still a longterm traveler. I still live abroad part of every year. I continue to relish vagabonding and although, I now have a place where I can hang my hat when I’m home, I don’t need very much to be happy. There’s a certain kind of freedom that comes with not being attached to things. It is addictive once you get a taste of it. Rather than ignore the stuff that’s starting to collect in my garage, I’m going to tackle it like the ninja warrior princess that I am. This life belongs to me. I refuse to share it with junk!

Happy trails ….

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