Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A 4-part series on Owning Less but "Having" More

Over the last two years we have transitioned as a family from a military lifestyle to a civilian lifestyle. For most people who have not experienced a life of deployments, seabags by the door, homecomings, new friends, new places, and moving, it may not seem like a hard transition. However, leaving one life behind for another is hard on everyone in the family all the way down to our little two year old. We have always lugged our things behind us in U-Haul trucks or followed big 18-wheelers loaded down with our belongings to our new home. This last series of moves involved moving from one rental to another for 8 months while my husband finished his final duties as a Naval Officer in Washington DC. Then we moved into our current rental as we began our search for a home. During this time of packing and unpacking I began to realize one important thing. We have TOO much stuff. Our closets are teeming with clothes, we have furniture that has sat in storage and not been used for over a year, and we have books, so very many books. These things were beginning weigh us down both physically and mentally. It made me feel resentful and a bit stressed about where everything would once go as we moved into a 2,100 sq. foot home. 

I would like to claim that it was this grand light bulb moment where I had this life altering epiphany that we should own less things but it was not that. It was and is a series of fits and starts where in one moment I am clinging to everything and saying "Oh, we will use it again" and in other moments I am having surges of "we must purge this house!!" We are not the perfect family of minimalists. We are renting a storage unit for goodness sakes! It is a journey of finding the balance of things and life. 

Here is where we started, my husband and I asked ourselves a series of important questions. 

1. What do we need to live and raise a family? 

2. What is our family code? Our morals? Values? What things do we place importance on? 

3. How much money will we need to live comfortably by our aforementioned values? 

4. How do we want to spend our time? (travelers or homebodies)

5. What do our things say about us? What do we WANT our things to say about us?

6. What do we want our future to look like? 

7. What are we willing do to achieve the lifestyle we want? 

8. (The big one) Are we happy right now? What would we change? 

These answers came out over time and many discussions over the dinner table or in the evening after the babes were asleep. They sometimes change too. That is definitely okay with us. Some of the answers were already in front of us we just had to see them. 

I am hoping to write this week and probably next (because let's face it, I have three children and sometimes the blogging just does not happen) about our journey through owning less but having more. We are not a success story but more of a story in the making.

** Disclaimer: I do not claim this as a blueprint for success or what will work for every family. I fully acknowledge that everyone is in a different situation and have different responsibilities.  Rather this will serve as an inspirational narrative for those seeking some help navigating the world of things. 


  1. I love this post, and look forward to following along as you share your journey. It is challenging in this day to live with less, our world is constantly telling us how much more we need. But the truth is we don't need much for happiness, and everything else is just extra and at times, like you said, weighs us down.

  2. can't wait to read more about your journey. We have too much stuff too and I do pare down belongings every now and then but I feel the itch to do a massive overhaul.