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After moving, minimalism doesn't seem so crazy

Possessions don't buy happiness, but they can cause a lot of stress

Moving sucks. Packing and unpacking. Organizing and re-organizing. Renting a truck. Shipping boxes. Running out of packing tape. Buying more supplies. Asking friends for help to move your stuff into the truck. All of these variables just lead to a whole lot of stress. And unfortunately, there really is nothing to make the process easier — unless you want to pay exorbitant amounts of money to have someone else pack up and move your things. But the one thing you can control that might help is having less stuff to pack and move.

Through my own move, I kept wishing I didn't have as many things as I did. I ended up with 15 boxes of stuff, not including my clothes. Owning less things would mean less to pack, less to move, and ultimately less to stress over. This is the reason why I became interested in minimalism.

Minimalism is a philosophy of living that limits the amount of possessions you own. The idea is to only keep the things you absolutely need and use every day, or at least fairly often. Everything else can go. This means no knick-nacks, no collectibles, no junk. Fewer items to clutter your life day to day and much lower stress levels when moving.

When I first heard of this philosophy, I was skeptical. I wanted to keep all of my books and collectibles. I actually do use all of my pens and journals. And having many different stuffed animals and pillows gives me many different options on bedding when I travel. I couldn't imagine parting with these things. But these aren't the things minimalism is talking about. Sure, you could go very minimal and toss things that hold sentimental value that you don't use. But the philosophy is just about getting rid of things you don't care for or don't use. You can still keep your books, pens or other sentimental items. The point is to cut down on clutter and trash. Things that you keep just because you've had them for awhile — rather than because you actually care or need them.

Right now, my pile of bags and boxes takes up the entire living room of my new home. I thought I would feel some sense of accomplishment when I had all of my stuff in my new place. Instead, I just feel stressed all over again. I am not looking forward to unpacking everything — even less so than I was to packing everything up. The main thing that would help is just having fewer boxes to begin with.

And so, I am going to attempt to practice minimalism. Maybe the act of buying all of these things made me happy in the moment. But now, they are only causing me pain and stress. Cutting down on the random items I own will reduce my stress day to day and cut down on the time and effort needed to move in the future. Plus, I'll be saving money by not purchasing things I don't really need.

I would rather give up on that short term happiness in exchange for having fewer things to worry about for my next move. Now it's time to sort, donate and trash the things I no longer need. Possessions don't buy happiness, so the saying goes. In my experience, an unneeded amount of possessions leads to unneeded stress and discomfort.