These days we live in a consumer driven society. Earn more, spend more, own more! Bigger homes, faster cars. We fill our closets with the latest trends, and then shop seasonally for clothes that society tells us we "need". We work, work, work to spend, spend, spend and our priorities seem to be way out of whack.
Personally my biggest issue with too much stuff and too many commitments is the way that they control my life and my time. Instead of focusing on my husband and children I get caught up in organizing and cleaning a big house full of stuff we don't necessarily need. My view really changed last summer when we spent two weeks living our 17' Boler as we travelled around Vancouver Island.
Camping in Stamp River. Port Alberni, Vancouver Island
Living in such a small space and moving around frequently forced us to bring only the items that we really needed... or thought we needed. We discovered over that two weeks that we didn't even need everything packed into that trailer and could have brought much less with us. Each day I was content to lay down with our napping baby and read a book, rather than scroll mindlessly through social media posts. We were all happy and relaxed, and as soon as I got back to that big ol' house of ours, the stress of maintaining all of that space and "stuff" came rushing back.
I found myself losing patience with my daughter while I was trying to clean and organize and all she wanted to do was play. My priorities were seriously misdirected, and I knew I needed to address this head on. Not only did we have a lot of stuff, but our children had far more toys than they truly needed.
Over the course of a summer outside, camping in various locations we noticed our daughter was far more happy and confident when out in nature playing with the dogs, sticks, rocks, dirt or just a ball. She listened better and used her imagination more. We would build, discover, swim, splash and just be - so why not have less toys that keep her busy inside and spend more time experiencing life outdoors?
An afternoon climbing, throwing rocks and just "being" on a beach in Ucluelet
As we prepare for our move to the east coast, we are selling the majority of our possessions. Our focus is on items we no longer use or need, and items that it would cost more to ship than it would be to replace. We would like to not spend too much shipping stuff across country, and of course attempt to live with less as we travel in our trailer for a few months.
From owning less, I hope our whole family also finds less desire to buy items. I'd rather collect memories than tangible items.
When looking back on my own childhood I remember time spent with family more than I do the items they bought me. Not to say I wasn't thankful for the gifts I was so lucky to be given, but my fondest memories of Christmas are of the time spent with family. Annual trips to the tree farm to chop down a tree and decorate it while watching classic Christmas movies, and visiting with family and friends we only saw a few times a year.
So many people are trying to understand what we are doing. Why are you getting rid of everything? Will you be able to work when you get out there? The whole purpose of our move is to completely change the way we live. No, we won't be making the same money we did out here, but we won't need that much money. Our goal is to be mortgage free, consume less and live a much more simple life. When boredom strikes I would much rather set foot outside to explore with the kids, instead of heading to the local mall to spend money or buy more items that will not bring us happiness.
In beginning this journey, I have heard from others who desire to simplify their lives as well. I hope that in sharing our experience, I can inspire more people to do the same. If you're looking for further inspiration, I suggest the following blogs:
Have any of you thought of simplifying your life? What does it mean to you?