Do You Really Need It?
In the last couple of months, I’ve been in the process of selling all of my wife and I’s belongings, only keeping what can fit in a backpack (find out why we got rid of all of our stuff here). This has meant getting rid of my prized electric smoker (God, I’ll miss BBQ), and many other things I thought I could never live without. Something this process has shown me, though, is that we have also accrued a bunch of crap! Like three trash bags full of shirts I never wore! This has brought us the constant question of, “Do we really need this?”.
Selling all of your belongings to travel the world really forces you to make the hard decisions. Downsizing a fully furbished 1,200 sq/ft apartment was harder than I imagined. You never realize how much is just lying around collecting dust; never getting used. My wife would always ask the rhetorical question: “When was the last time you used that?”. She had a valid point! I would horde clothing, trinkets, and equipment that I would never even look at. My reasoning was always that one day, maybe, I could use it. The worst part was, that day would never come. Here are my top 3 steps when trying to determine if an item is worth having or not.
When Did You Use It Last?
If the answer is longer than 6 months, get rid of it! This may sound a little extreme but the reality is that you probably forgot that item even existed. Take the time necessary to sell or donate it. People are more than willing to buy or take used items, it’s just a matter of putting in the effort. Make a little money on the side and free up space for more important things. For me, at the end of the day I have to ask myself: “Is this worth having for only the next 4 months?”.
Does It Add Value To Your Life?
We all have the sentimental items that make your house or apartment feel like home. I am by no means wanting you to get rid of that. What I do ask; is that you take the time to think about each items value. Does it bring you enough joy to warrant keeping? To this day I have a difficult time answering that question. For me, the only items worth holding on to are our wedding/engagement bands and a few mementos from our first backpacking trip around Europe. Try to hold on to the memories rather than the items themselves. I encourage you to take the time over this next week and find five items that you can do the same with.
Ever walk through Target or Bed Bath and Beyond just for fun when all of a sudden you stumble across the sale rack? I know that’s the lotion you are in love with or the drill you have been price stalking for weeks but you don’t need it! The fact of the matter is you probably have plenty of lotion and a drill that works just fine. I am having to continually remind my self “Daniel, you leave in 4 months, if it’s not going to be taken in a backpack its not worth the money.” Now I know our situation is a little extreme but similar concepts can be applied to life. On sale items are the biggest trap that we all have trouble avoiding; but be strong. Take the money you would have spent and put it in savings or invest it into your relationship.
The Hard Question
At the end of the day not everyone is downsizing their lives into a backpack but I do want you to think about the following question. When looking in a room; does every item you see bring enough joy to warrant the space it occupies? If not, you don’t need it! Run through the steps I mentioned and make way for things that are going to add value and joy to your life. Let me know what you think in the comments below!