Why Living in Europe Made Me Want to Get Rid of All My Stuff

20160719_112330We took our family of six to Italy this summer for one month. Somehow I managed to pack everything we needed for that month (minus food) into four suitcases and three small carry on bags.

It was amazing.

I searched online for packing tips. I read about space-saving advice for traveling with kids. Then we shoved all the stuff we needed into our bags, zipped them up and headed to the airport. I worried it wouldn’t be enough.

But it was.

There were a few times while we were there that we took weekend trips to other cities. We would tuck EVERYTHING we needed for those trips into a giant mountain climbing bag and two mini backpacks. And it was enough.

It was amazing.

While we were overseas we rented an apartment in Rome. We didn’t have all our toys. We didn’t have all our books. We didn’t have all our decorations or DVDs. We couldn’t bring the four pillows I sleep with every night and we had to leave my rolling hair curlers behind.

We lived on the bare minimum.

And it was liberating.

I have officially gone from someone who took four bags to a weekend trip to her grandma’s house in high school to someone who needed a little more than that much for a month-long trip with four kids and a husband.

And now I want to get rid of everything.

Why do we have so much STUFF??

The people we visited in Italy didn’t have that much. They didn’t have great big houses with storage rooms and above-the-garage shelves. So why do I? We lived for one month with the bare essentials so why do I need much more than that?

I’ve been purging and getting rid of stuff ever since we got back. I started in my bathroom by trashing stuff I’ve kept in there for years but haven’t needed.

Last week I purged our dressers. Thanks to an IKEA recall we had to replace all five of our chests of drawers. So we have had clothes spread all over the place while we have been waiting for new dressers.

It was a good time to get rid of stuff. I set out a pile to donate, a pile to trash and a pile to keep.

We’ve been swimming in clothes lately and it’s still a mess but it has felt great to make more space and only keep the essentials.


I’m going to make a wave through my house and start eliminating more extras that we don’t need. I’ll keep the decorations and a few totes of baby clothes, but I’m going got let go of a lot of other things.

Many of you are probably already doing this on a regular basis. But it took me living in a country 5,000 miles away to realize it was all right to get rid of stuff. Well, most stuff. I’m still going to hang on to my four pillows.

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