Why do we have so many things?

Most of you might have heard the quote: “Whoever dies with the most stuff wins”  from the novel “Number9dream” written by David Mitchell.
He wrote about it in 2001, although this mindset has been with people for generations. Why is that so?

We live in a consumer society, and having stuff usually means that you are wealthier and better off. In reality, it means that big corporations are doing their job right. They use various methods to boost the demand for more sales. With simple marketing, they influence you to buy more stuff even when we don’t need it. We know all about it because we used to work for these companies.

“I am not so rich to buy cheap things.”

Can you relate to the quote? Most of us can’t and never will, as well as to truly understand the meaning of it. Back in the days, we cared about the quality, and the label made in China was usually a sign of the contrary. However, the world has changed because nowadays the consumer looks for the price first, and the corporations know it. Therefore they produce low-quality products with a short lifecycle. So when they break, you can buy a new one rather than pay for the repair because it will be more costly to do that.

One of our computers

One of our computers

MacBook from 2009

Some things last

A decade ago, products were still made to last, and if something broke, you were able to repair them. Therefore, if you are willing to pay once a bit more, your purchase should work for years and years. For example, we are still using Karl’s laptop (MacBook) from the year 2009 to write all of the blog posts.

Our belongings

We currently live in a 10m2 Volkswagen van. To be more precise about the floor plan, half of the room is used by seats, engine, and furniture, which leaves only 5m2 for all of our stuff. Additionally, we have a pull-out kitchen with a fridge, and four boxes under the bed, which makes that space even smaller. Last but not least, we have two dogs living with us who take up most of the free space. In the end, that leaves us only 1m2 for all our belongings.

Before the van, we used to live in a 50m2 apartment, plus we had a basement, storage area, and two garages. Even if you think that’s not that much space, then you are wrong. It can hold a lot of stuff. We really had to change our lifestyle in order to move into the van.

This is the space for our belongings

This is the space for our belongings

Some boxes under the bed and closet for clothes

Minimalist lifestyle.

What does it mean? That you don’t possess anything? The answer is no.

It means that you make your purchases based on the things you need, not what you desire. Moreover, you don’t spend money on cheap stuff instead; you concentrate on quality over quantity.

Donating clothes and shoes

Donating clothes and shoes

Because we didn't use these anyway

How can you change?

It wasn’t that difficult to change our way of life. We started slowly, like donating and selling our clothes, including other items we didn’t need anymore. Also, we auctioned and traded a lot of things on the internet. We only kept good quality stuff and some cheaper items we replaced with better ones. Eventually, you only surround yourself with those material possessions that you need.

Ultimately, we just changed our mindset because experiencing life is more important to us than owning a lot of stuff.

Watch the video below of our apartment with our belongings and before moving out. If you are interested more about this topic, then you can read this blog about how to start a minimalist lifestyle:

Do you think that you can do it?