Living with less

Lately I’ve been making a little extra money.  In a totally legitimate way.  Getting rid of stuff.

We all have it.  Some of us try to avoid the fact that we have so much.  Others don’t even realize it.

When I returned from Morocco one cool evening at the end of June, I remember sitting on my bed staring at my closet, feeling depressed.  15 handbags if not more. 20 pairs of shoes.  11 pairs of jeans, most of which I never wear. At least 10 little black dresses.  All stuffed in one little closet in my tiny little bachelor apartment which I declutter twice a year to make room for new stuff.  But why?  Why do I need that many pairs of jeans?  I’m a 9-5er, I don’t wear jeans to work.  Just last winter I spent $225 on a dress to wear for dinner with a friend.  The dress is at the bottom of a Rubbermaid container, but the true memories that live on from that evening include celebrating, eating great food with a great friend.  And that’s what should be important.

But we live in a society of excess.

Glance through any magazine – they are dying to tell you you need more stuff, even though most magazines highlight a multi-functional outfit that goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then after work cocktails.  And, have you checked out this season’s “must-haves”?

I’ve totally fallen for these gimmicks, and still do, despite my best efforts to live with less.

One afternoon in Morocco we took over a family house while we enjoyed camel burgers.  Yes, camel!  But what was interesting is that the house consisted of a kitchen, dining area,and toilet off the main lounge area, yet three generations called this space home.  There was no room for excess in this house.

What I think I found most depressing about the state of my closet upon my return was wondering where would all this stuff go when I head back to Morocco.  With the move imminent, I’ve started selling my stuff on the typical local Web sites and let me tell you, it feels great. Freeing actually.  Like I don’t have all this stuff to lug around with me when I make the big move.  Or to move around the apartment when I want to clean up.  But then I also got to thinking, what kind of society do we live in if our stuff is just so disposable?  We can just get rid of something without feeling any loss.  On some occasions I feel a bit sad saying good-bye to something I just picked up at the mall, as if my stuff has sentimental value when really, I can just go to Lululemon and buy a new bag if I really wanted to (but won’t).

And best of all, I’ve made several people’s days because one person’s junk, really is another one’s treasure!

7 Responses to “Living with less”
  1. Karen says:

    Mandy, your blog is great ! There is definitly something about Morocco, ho yeah !!!! Apparently, nothing is going to stop you on your way to this amazing country… and that’s awesome ! Alors, on va prendre un café bientôt ?

  2. Kathy Sadler says:

    I totally am in sync with you re the “stuff” we have in our over-materialistic society. It drives me crazy. I, unlike you, can honestly say I have never been on that “bandwagon” and I am glad to be able to say that. It makes me feel good to resist all that advertising nonsense that tries to make people believe they cannot be happy without all that “stuff”; especially “name-brand stuff” and that they need more ; more!! That is not happiness. Happiness comes from being kind to others; helping others; having great relationships with friends and family and best of all reaching out to help others. Sounds like your move to Morocco is the right thing!!

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