It can be freeing when you don’t have a lot of physical possessions to worry about. If you need to move from one location to another, whether it’s a long or short distance, you don’t have to deal with getting a truck to move a lot of heavy furniture, you don’t have to hunt down several pairs of brawny arms to help with the lifting, and you don’t have to have a designated space to store what you can’t use if you’re not able to take that furniture with you. In other words, if you don’t own a lot of stuff your ease of mobility is greatly enhanced.
I’ve owned various pieces of furniture through the years, but having moved cross-country several times, as well as in-and-out of various apartments and homes of family members, I’ve both gained and gotten rid of a number of things. Some of the furniture I owned in the past was recycled to other family members — the first set of coffee and end-tables that I bought 5-6 years ago were once used in my younger sister’s apartment, and now my 19-year-old brother will be using them when he moves into a new apartment this weekend. A 25-inch TV that I bought back in 1999 (a monster of a set, but it’s still hanging in there) is currently in the home of my older sister, and she’s also had my computer desk at her place for the past few years.
When I moved to northern VA last fall (and into the first apartment that I’ve ever lived in entirely on my own), I had to buy a number of things to fill up the space — a bookshelf, several tables, a sofa and chair. (I’m no longer in possession of this furniture either, but that’s a subject for another post.)
The thing is, there are both advantages and disadvantages to not having a lot of possessions. Like I said, easy mobility is definitely an advantage. I recently moved out of my apartment and, not ready to sign another lease, decided to move in temporarily with a friend. But just because a friend is willing to take you in and store some of your things, doesn’t mean they have the room — or the inclination — to store a lot of your stuff. A closet cleared out to house my clothes, a few bins and suitcases, additional food in the kitchen — it’s a lot different than showing up with a moving truck. So when you need to go somewhere fast, having a lesser amount of “things” is a good way to ensure that you’ll have a better chance of being welcomed wherever you’re going.
The disadvantage to this arrangement is a lack of comfort; not being able to have your things spread out as opposed to someone else’s. My older sister moved into a new townhouse recently, and…you know, it looks really great. She’s collected some really nice things over the years — a period of time in which I spent five months in Amsterdam on a study-abroad program, went back and forth across the U.S., and then moved to northern VA. I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made, but sometimes — especially when I notice that I can fit most of my possessions in a few car loads — it’s tough seeing what the alternative might have been.
[Read the rest of this post at BlogHer]