Stuff vs travels: struggles of a minimalist wannabe

I have been flirting with minimalism (voluntary simplicity, living with less, whatever) for years. We (I) don’t need so much stuff. I learned that from clearing out 80 years of my parents’ stuff when they passed. We live in a small (by American standards) house; we don’t have new cars or new furniture; and I try to resist the lure of consumerism. This lack of buying and debt helped us to retire early. When I do have the urge or need to buy, I head for the thrift store or online used-clothes shopping. I prefer travel, experiences, decent wine, and donating to charity. Though I have a long way to go, I try to walk my talk. (And luckily, my husband has the same values.)

This past winter, in Mexico, I read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I had thought it sounded too cutesy for me but a friend recommended it. And now I recommend it. After our Mexico trip, I “Marie Kondo”d my closet and started on the rest of the house. I got rid of half (or more) of my clothes. I got rid of boxes of books and other stuff.

Marie Kondo says to pile up ALL of your clothes in order to sort and tidy. I did it -- it works.

Marie Kondo says to pile up ALL of your clothes in order to sort and tidy. I did it — it works.

Not pretty! But I did it!

Not pretty! But I did it!

All of these clothes went to St. Vinnie's.

All of these clothes went to St. Vinnie’s.

Yep, all the books in one place too.

Yep, all the books in one place too.

These went to the used book store, Little Libraries in the neighborhood and St Vinnie's.

These went to the used book store, Little Libraries in the neighborhood and St Vinnie’s.

We have more room than ever in our closets. It feels good. I can find things. I am now more picky about what gets added to my “stuff.” Goodness knows there is still more to go — the little shed attached to our carport, photos of my grandmother’s family in Austria, inherited jewelry… ¬†Nonetheless, I am on the path, the right one for me.

But what’s an aspiring minimalist to do when faced with a shiny penny? I met some friends for a drink at a little mall we have in town. While I was waiting for them to arrive, I thought I would just kill a few minutes in the Title Nine store. Right. I found a dress (on sale, even) that I adored. I tried it on and it looked great. I knew I didn’t have any brightly colored summer dresses left after the big closet cleanout. I put it back on the rack and met my friends.

A week later, I went back. The dress was still there and I bought it. I love it. I will wear frequently and it will last a long time. It was $59. Recent travel planning (more on this later) tells me that the same $59 could have paid for a night in Mexico at a nice AirBnB or hotel. Was the dress worth it? Will thinking about these trade-offs help me the next time I am faced with a shiny penny?

Advertisements

One thought on “Stuff vs travels: struggles of a minimalist wannabe

  1. Yvonne

    In preparation for our move to Mexico, we got rid of a lot of books, donate or for trade at used book stores. We became library users in Puerto Vallarta, Ca and now in Az. Any that we buy come from the used bookstore, where they go back. We no longer accumulate new books, the main thing I can’t resist are cookbooks from used book stores or estate sales where we have made some great finds. Still working on the clothes closet(s) and jewelry.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s