Our ever-evolving and often flawed journey toward a minimalist lifestyle
M & I recently took a vacation trip to Mexico City, where we experienced amazing tacos, outings with friends, and Netflix. Yes... I'm sorry to say that we are the people who sometimes watch Netflix while on vacation in another country. There's really no defending our lack of culture/love of laziness, but these character flaws did lead us to discover some interior design shows that inspired us to pare down our belongings.
I grew up with a massive extended family, all of whom gave me generous trinkets and gifts upon every visit. My bedroom quickly became a cluttered disaster with collectible stuffed animals or porcelain dogs. These items held sentimental significance for a day and then proceeded to acquire dust (to which I'm highly allergic). But at the mere mention of removing these items from my room to donate, my young brain and heart spiraled into a panic.
"You can't donate these, Mom! These are special to me. I've been saving them for a reason. Please don't take my precious belongings away!" (whining, stomping, etc)
I've witnessed this phenomena persist with every kid I've ever nannied. I even catch my (adult) self holding onto certain gifts or items of clothing that I know I haven't used and may never use. I want to know why.
Why can't we seem to let go of our stuff?
This is a pretty loaded question with answers that vary based on personal preferences and circumstances.
I have trouble letting go of stuff because I'm conditioned to want more. Advertisements ooze out of nearly every aspect of our life: social media, television, coupons, public transportation. They are inescapable. They are constantly telling me "you need this" or "you'll never find this deal anywhere else." That's because the alternatives of "you already have a less shiny but fully functioning version of this" or "you can make this from what you already have" do not serve their business purposes and sound much less glamorous.
Luckily, we live directly above a place where we can donate any of our underused or unnecessary goods, so we don't really have an excuse to hoard. We're not perfect, but we're working on it. Here's how we've managed to start minimizing our "stuff."