Friends and acquaintances often ask why I have so little furniture, no TV, few appliances, clothes or other material items most people think they could not possibly live without. And why, they ask, don't I indulge in a coffee while away from home. Why don't I buy some books, instead of going regularly to the library? Why indeed?
Having raised children and gone through a seemingly enormous amount of stuff that eventually became bedraggled and had to be tossed out, I finally refused to replace things. And found that I liked it. Not having to worry about water stains on a wooden coffee table is to have no table at all. Owning two towels, one facecloth and one set of sheets means more room on my tiny storage shelves. Silverware for a place setting of four is plenty. Ditto the dishes. And so it goes.
Living with a minimum of material possessions is not for everyone and, for me, it wasn't an overnight decision. I started out by admiring objects that were out of my price range and thinking hard about whether or not I really, really wanted it. Soon that turned into 'Do I really, really need it'? Next, I assessed the numerous articles in my home. Emptying kitchen cupboards, dresser drawers and closets became cathartic. With each box that went out of the house, it seemed I had more room for myself. I began to feel lighter, freer.
The choice to unburden myself of material stuff has changed me. Gone is the longing for things I know I cannot afford, now or ever. And should the opportunity arise that I could indulge in acquiring things - even things of beauty - I'm sure I would pass.