Find Peace - Become (Even More of) a Minimalist

Do you know what can happen when you sit still for a while? You return to old habits and start acquiring things.

Clothing. Dishes. Books. Equipment.

I’m not saying new things are bad. But, when we bring in new things without getting rid of the old, we have a problem. Our stuff starts to control us again.

You would think that, after living in an RV for 5 years, we’d have this minimalist thing down.

But we’ve been in one place for 5 months. The piles have grown. Time to repeat the process we went through in order to get out of our suburban house and on the road 5 years ago.

The Kid Purge

Purging stuff? Done that.

An entire kid? That’s a first.

Harrison (our oldest) is moving out in the next few weeks.

He’ll have his personal belongings to move out but he also shares a number of things with his sister. They’ll need to negotiate through that process. We first tasked them with going through the sporting goods stowed in the RV belly.

The RV Purge

Mike and I recently started The Purge on the inside of the trailer.

We had been carrying items with us for two years because I felt “guilty” getting rid of them. Why would I give an inanimate object that much control over me?

I found things that we moved from the first trailer that we used maybe 2 times in 5 years. If we don’t eat corn on the cob, why do I have 6 sets of corn cob holders?

Our combined efforts netted a small Goodwill load that included the following, all unused for various reasons:

  • Coasters
  • A propane lantern
  • Swim rings
  • A jump-rope
  • A toaster oven
  • Placemats
  • A muffin tin
  • Fishing poles
  • Serving spoons
  • Extra Mason jars
  • Used workbooks
  • School binders
  • Last year’s lesson plans
  • Games
  • DVDs
  • Necklaces
  • Articles of clothing
  • Big laundry basket


Wow - when did we get THAT!?

Wow - when did we get THAT!?

Our Relationship to Stuff

As I experienced all the emotions while purging these items I remembered some other viewpoints on our relationship to our belongings.

The Minimalists

First - and more poetic - is this blog post from The Minimalists which describes the cycle of ‘stuff ownership’:

I want it.
I must have it.
I have to possess it.

I own it.
I don’t use it.
I have debt from it.

It owns me.
It has changed me.
It steals time from me.

It blinded me.
It has taught me.
It has helped guide me.

I desire little.
I keep a little.
I am happier with little.

I miss little.
I stress over little.
I was transformed with little.

The Minimalists

Jerry Seinfield

Second - and more comical - is this routine from Jerry Seinfeld:

I especially liked:

Your home is a garbage processing center where you buy new things, bring them into your house, and slowly crapify them over time.Jerry Seinfield

The Next Step

The kids have done their part in the ‘basement’, but Mike and I need to do our part there as well. When we are in travel mode we keep that area pretty tidy, but over the summer it’s started looking like a smaller version of most suburban garages.

I’m looking forward to lightening our load and freeing myself from the burden of too many things.

What’s Lurking Under Your Bed?

Are you weighed down by all your stuff? Have you allowed items to have control over you? Do you desire to be free but don’t know where to start?

Take a moment, find an item (or three) that doesn’t bring you joy, and get rid of it.

Do it again tomorrow. And the next day.

Owning things is not inherently bad. But, when our things own us, it’s time to take action.

To find peace.

2 Comments Find Peace - Become (Even More of) a Minimalist

  1. Picture of Heather Gebbia Heather Gebbia September 09, 2015

    I loved the Seinfeld clip! So funny!!

  2. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink September 09, 2015

    @heather - it’s kind of like the George Carlin “stuff” routine..just cleaner..;)

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