In this podcast episode on finances by The Minimalists, Joshua and Ryan discuss an article by Life Edited’s David Friedlander called Minimalism: class, fetishes and the fate of the planet. In the article, he shares one of my favorite quotes: “Stuff is not passive. Stuff wants your time, attention, allegiance. But you know it as well as I do, life is more important than the things we accumulate.” from Dave Bruno, the author of The 100 Thing Challenge.
I understood and noticed the time and attention part while selling and giving away most of my stuff, but it was only recently that I realized how all-consuming my allegiance to stuff was.
I pledge allegiance to my stuff
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by purchasing a ridiculous amount of insurance to protect it.
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by only using it on special occasions.
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by purchasing unique containers to store it in.
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by building shrines to display it.
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by choosing homes that had adequate cabinets and closets to contain it.
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by lying to myself about the amount of debt I was in and how much I was spending.
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by talking to my friends about what a great deal I got on it, or how many points I earned by shopping on for it on the right day.
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by purchasing it with credit, thousands of dollars in credit knowing I’d be paying ridiculous interest rates and fighting collection calls.
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by renting big trucks to drive it from home to home to home each time I moved.
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by believing it had the power to change me, define me, or prove my worth to others.
- I pledged allegiance to my stuff by holding on to it, even when it was holding me back.
I’m not suggesting the stuff we own is bad, or wrong. Not being thoughtful and discerning about our stuff is the problem. Being aware of my misguided allegiance makes me even happier with the commitment I’ve made to live with less.
Maybe you don’t pledge allegiance to your stuff the way I did, but if a few of these statements resonate with you, say them out loud and see how it feels. Write a few of your own allegiance statements and see how your actions suggest you may be devoted to things that really don’t matter to you. This exercise isn’t designed to make you feel guilty, but to give you more power to let go and more clarity on what matters most.