Things You Don’t Need…

My life is contained in small spaces.

My living space on land is 400 square feet. My living space on water is 250 square feet.
A former linen closet is my office. Somehow it all works.

And yet I am not a minimalist.

I have a theory about clutter. It starts small, multiplies in the night, grows and grows until a narrow table is covered with paper, cords, an old credit card, a book, paper receipts, and a pair of shorts.

Under the table is a box of donates and another box of books destined for the Friends of the Library. Most of the books in the box are mine. Taking a book from my husband is like prying a rawhide bone out of the jaws of a snarling dog. Aint gonna happen.

The rest of the land space has a bed, bookshelves, husband’s desk and files, and two chairs. Did I mention a bathroom and closets? They’re included. The boat space is smaller, but designed for people to live on board. It’s very compact and includes galley, storage, and steering station. No clutter. Efficient.

How do we do it? Obvious answer—we have a storage unit plus containers of family pictures and boxes of my husband’s books in the garage.

Even so, there are useless items in the land space. The donates, a used printer cartridge, old magazines, stuffed animals, a silly lamp I made on a girls’ weekend I can’t part with, and a vase with artificial flowers tucked in a corner on the floor. Mark has a clock on the wall he can’t read, a plastic container from the boat, a three-drawer nightstand (with empty drawers).

I wonder, sometimes, how we managed to fill a four-bedroom house, outbuilding, garage, and barn before we moved into town. Then I remember we had other people’s stored items in the barn, including stuff owned by one of the non-profits. When we moved we made three trips to the dump, two to recycling stations, five to donate centers, and had to build storage shelving in the garage after we moved into the house.

While it’s strange, I actually don’t miss what I don’t have. Except for a few appliances, most of the stuff in the downstairs space we share with my daughter’s family is theirs.

Perhaps Socrates got it right: The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.

Got it, Soc.

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