I spent most of the day today emptying boxes, arranging furniture, and putting away belongings in our new home. I also went out to run some errands and eat lunch at a local Korean restaurant, a welcome respite from unpacking. I didn’t realize how much stuff we own until I started going through all those boxes. I repeatedly asked myself questions such as, "Why did I ship that?" and "Why did I ever buy this?" For example, I found out that I accidentally shipped a miter saw that I have no intention of using while I’m overseas. Somehow, I ended up shipping just about all the boxes previously stored in my garage, and now I have just about every home improvement tool available to me in a home that I do not need to maintain or improve. If our place has a problem, I just need to call someone in maintenance. I don’t need to be a handyman like I was when I lived in my own home. I have all the tools I don’t need, and I’m missing some that I need. I don’t even have a hammer yet. My rusty ol’ hammer will come in a later shipment. In the meantime, I’ll have to hammer nails to hang photos and prints using a heavy-duty wrench.
I almost bought a new hammer at the store today, but I decided against it. I already own one; why do I need two? At first I justified the purchase by telling myself that my own hammer is rusty (accidentally left out in the rain), but I managed to convince myself not to buy it. I’m glad I said no. My family has become rather minimalist, partly out of necessity and partly out of desire. When you live and work overseas, you don’t need as much as you need as a suburban American homeowner. Too much stuff can be overbearing, and our life has been much too cluttered over the past few years. We are planning to get rid of as much "junk" as possible as soon as possible to help unclutter our lives. We want to keep only what we need or really want and avoid becoming transient packrats. It will take some time. We have to use up much of what we have bought–like those multiple bottles of laundry detergent–and sell or give away what we cannot consume. We will still store some items away for our eventual return to the U.S. and for special occasions such as camping and Christmas. We don’t have much storage room here, but we’ll find creative ways to put it all away.