The Double Edged Sword of Stuff

Photo by Vanessa Bucceri on Unsplash

“Ponder this mystery: We take delight in things; we take delight in being loosed from things. Between these two delights, we must dance our lives.”
-Philip Harnden in Journeys of Simplicity: Traveling Light 

Every few months I find myself rearranging our whole apartment.

This is actually an easy task because the 950 square feet of space yields limited options.

This practice of rearranging always leads to two outcomes:

  1. I get rid of things
  2. I want to buy organizational stuff

It happens every time.

I suddenly have visions of how certain bins or drawers would make our space perfect. I close my eyes and my space has only high quality wooden toys, nothing is broken, and there is a spot for everything.

Then I open my eyes and it’s back to broken-plastic reality where my kids shove random items into bags, shoe boxes, and whatever other containers they can find. I step on LEGO pieces, markers, pipe cleaners, and every other activity we have done that day.


However, I do not give up on my organizational dream that easily. I usually research the items I would buy in my ideal world and even make a “list” on Ikea’s website.

But as I look at the price tag of this “ideal” I realize that Philip Harnden is exactly right.

I love things, I love being loosed from things, and in between these two loves is our minimalist life.


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