What we have

I would like to feel thankful more often. I think thankfulness is a quick route to happiness (because if you’re truly thankful, how can you avoid feeling happy?), and thus I really enjoyed seeing this quote on The Happiness Project:

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.”

May we all remember that today.

Extreme Material Simplicity

I have been pursuing a radical course in the past few months, related to my aesthetic preference for minimalism, my upbringing with values of voluntary simplicity, and my philosophical interest in happiness. I have been Getting Rid Of Things. This sortie has been inspired by several assumptions/understandings:

  • Material objects do not bring happiness. In fact, they sometimes impede it.
  • The most aesthetically pleasing interiors for me are those with smooth, bare surfaces. Hard to have those when you have clutter.
  • I would like to spend a significant junk of my young adulthood being itinerant. Heaps of possessions don’t do you much good when you need to pack up and move frequently.
  • Waste sucks, and having things you never use is wasteful, of space, of your energy, and of manufacturing to create those things.
  • It’s easier to clean your space when you have less stuff!
  • To survive, we need little in the way of material objects. Beyond what’s necessary, stuff takes up mental energy.
  • Less stuff allows you to focus on things that make you happy! Like food, and friends, and games, and music!

So! After several months of rejecting objects bit by bit, I finally got to the point where I felt I could inventory all of my belongings. I did this several years ago, perhaps before going abroad. It’s really interesting seeing how much stuff you really have.

Now, the majority of my clothes are out on the line drying, and I grouped some items together (socks, pens, contents of file folders), however:

I have roughly 260 things.

Does having so few things make me happy? No. But it does feel liberating. And liberty feels pretty darn good.

Have you had similar experiences with flushing unnecessary junk out of your life? Are you shocked from disagreement? Do you have other thoughts on this matter? I’d love to hear them!