Some of you may think I have a hate on for stuff and to some degree you are right. I recently went to Australia on a vacation and traveling from Ottawa to Melbourne and back is a fairly simple complicated 33,000km journey involving checking, re-checking, re-re-checking luggage, endless queues, security checks and answering questions from various country’s border services after being awake for 30+ hours. The only reason I did not lose my passport, wallet, boarding passes, luggage slips and customs paperwork was because of dumb luck.

I recently did a purge of unnecessary items and it felt great. I am a bit of a minimalist *, but lately  I started collecting stuff and instead of bringing joy to me, the stuff began to feel like clutter so I pared down.

Compared to many people (The Minimalists, Colin Wright and Adam Baker) I am a rank amateur in the world of minimalism but I believe I have accomplished a comfortable balance of stuff that is interesting yet brings a the sense of calm to my home.

That being said, I am not a ruthless bitch when it comes to stuff. Really. To prove this point, here are some items I have kept over the years for sentimental reasons.

Ping pong paddle I used in grade 12 gym class. A high school friend and I were UNDEFEATED in doubles ping ping. We destroyed our opponents with ruthlessness of a lion pouncing on the wounded gazelle. Granted, it was not because we were ping pong prodigies but because everyone else sucked at ping pong.  But still, UNDEFEATED.

A cordless drill with a dead battery. The battery is built in and has run dry and cannot be replaced with another battery. My brother gave me this drill for my birthday 12 years ago and it was one of the best birthday gifts I ever got. I used it on a ton of projects around the house. It lives a happy retired life in my mini workshop. One day I will turn it into a book end.

My childhood softball glove. I got this softball glove in 1975 when my mother finally (sort of) gave up on making me a proper lady and allowed me to play softball in a neighborhood league. The glove does not really fit anymore but I keep it because the glove represents many life lessons. I played softball in this league for six years and only played on two winning teams. Lots of life lessons like:

  • Kids sign up for softball without first learning how to catch a ball.
  • It’s a LOT of fun to make a diving catch.
  • Sometimes your team will completely and utterly choke and give up 7 runs in the first inning and lose the championship game. I cried for an hour after the game.

A scrub brush my sister-in-law gave me. I have a scrub brush so in theory I do not need a second one, but this one is so adorable I cannot possibly use it to scrub pots and pans. It sits on a shelf for no reason except it’s fun to look at.


While I can afford to move to a bigger place and fill it with stylish furniture, I chose to live in a small space with less stuff because it’s cheaper and, for me, less stressful. Not accumulating stuff, is one of the reasons I was able to afford to go to Australia. Not adding to the clutter is one of the reasons I’ll be able to afford to GO BACK to Australia.
*My friends and family members who helped me move 4 years ago might disagree as the move went on and on and on.

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