The Big Question


Today I’m not shopping for stuff on sale, I’m asking myself the big questions. Why do I own all of this stuff? How did I get to this point? Should I be buying stuff on Black Friday?

Since I am committing to downsizing 60% of my possessions in the next 12 months I wanted to talk to Sean Hotchkiss about how he did it. I also wanted to ask him how it feels four years on. That’s the basis for the conversation above.

He sent me this photo. These are his clothes. He told me that this is 75% of what he owns. His goal is for all of his clothing to fit on this one rack.

He said he has more stuff than just this, but what is pictured is the bulk of it. I’m sort of shocked and at the same time impressed. This is the same feeling I have when Coggins tells me he travels with one pair of pants. Why does having less stuff seem so difficult?

The more that I have thought about divesting the more I have generally struggled with the anxiety around the idea. It’s not just the difficult mechanics of getting rid of stuff, but I’m also feeling so much emotion around the process. The questions in my head go like this. What if I need XY or Z in the future? Am I a fool to get rid of so much stuff that has so much value? Why do I feel like this is so difficult?

On the flip side, I think that if I would have put all of the money I spent on all of this stuff into the stock market I would have made a killing. Instead I’m in a room with a bunch of things I don’t want and I’m facing a lot of work to get rid of it. This is equal parts depressing and uplifting. It’s a strange emotional paradox that I haven’t previously encountered on this level.

I also want to say that this is just my process. I’m not trying to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do with their money. I am not saying that I know better or Sean knows best. This is just how I feel and I want to share with the hope that perhaps people will find a connection for themselves. All of this thinking about simplifying has actually reinforced my belief in buying less but better things. If I would have stuck closer to that belief I would probably not be in this position in the first place.

The only thing I might buy this Black Friday would be a gift or because I want to support a brand I believe in and want to exist. I know a lot of small brands need help right now and those are the ones that I will be looking to this holiday season. I’ll get into this in a bigger way soon. I just don’t want people to forget that this is a strange time and small brands need help to get through it.