Having Too Much

Confession: I still haven’t fully unpacked my apartment. The unsightly vision of brown boxes stacked one upon another has become normal and no longer makes me cringe in embarassment every time I enter my living space. The past few weeks, as Christmas has drawn closer (or Advent as progressed, however you view it liturgically), I’ve been motivated to finally clear my apartmentment of the unneeded “things” (to use a more tame word than what I feel about it most of the time) that have cluttered so effortlessly. Bringing boxes and extra furniture upstairs, it’s made me realize how little I need it all. The chairs for the formal dining table that I really like but don’t use all that much, the boxes of books that, let’s be honest, I will likely never read in the next five years, the random thing-a-ma-bobs and do-dads that I don’t even know I have. If someone took these things, would I realize they were gone?

This comes at the same time as I decide over whether to get a new couch, the magenta one I really liked at IKEA that is perfectly Courtney-size and is longer than I am tall.

I’ve been thinking about why I haven’t, thus far, given up the extra “things” that I don’t use and don’t really care about having. Extra furniture, extra kitchenware– why hold on it?

I think it is a struggle that exists for many people, though. The fear of not having it in the future when you need it. What if I finally move into my own house and I need that 20 glass set? What if I have an unfurnished apartment on internship and that wingback chair I never really sit in and the sidetable that is really awkward and not very “me” could be used? We tend (can I be so bold to say we?) to keep things out of fear of future scarcity. Now, I know I’m not the first one to come up with this idea, but I realize how it has shaped the current layout of my apartment. I was given furniture and household items as handme downs and appreciate that I didn’t have to purchase them myself. But just because we are given something doesn’t mean we need it.

So this Advent season, and probably knowing how fast I work during January as well, I’m going to try to pare down on my possession. It’s not only because I feel convicted to live more simply, but because it’s actually pretty practical for me right now (I am stressed even thinking about moving-out at the end of the year). Whatever my reasons, though, I hope the process reminds me to be thankful for what I have, but also to work towards providing for others.

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