25 October 2009

One Way to Annihilate the Material Beast



I participated in an unintentional experiment this past year: how to tame materialism. We put everything in storage for a year - except what could fit in the back of the Jeep. The brewing equipment, which took up most of the already small space, was apparently a necessity. So, I had very little with me. Four months of the year I lived out of one carry-on duffel bag and a backpack (which really only fit my computer, a book or two, and my camera body and one lens).

Occasionally, I thought back to the storage unit - usually when I was tired of wearing the same outfit for the 5th time in a month. For the most part, though, there was nothing that I really missed. I made due with what was available. I learned what was and was not essential (like a comfortable bed).

Having been living out of what fit in the Jeep, we started to get the idea that we had very little to move. Our house did not need to be de-cluttered to be sold, and being away for so long, we quickly forgot about all the stuff we acquired in our 1800 foot house.

Reality hit us when the two hours we thought we’d spend loading a UHaul turned into the fifth hour. The storage unit employees became more and more obvious about spying on us to see if we could actually fit it all in the truck. This was our worst move ever. Either we have too much shit, or I am getting too old for this shit. Probably a little of both. We have less stuff now than nine years ago when we moved from Phoenix to Portland, but, it still seems like too much.

Certainly, life is slightly more comfortable now. And, I have more outfits to choose from. But, it was nice being able to throw everything into the back of the Jeep and go.

B once suggested driving around the country living out of a Suburban. I hated the idea then - I worried about not having all of my stuff around to make life comfortable. After living out of a duffle bag for a year, I no longer have fear of loosing my comfortable material life. Really, I just don’t need that much stuff to be comfortable and happy. It’s a great thing to have come away with.
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