9 years ago, I moved to the UAE from a six bedroom house in the US to a 2 bedroom flat in Dubai.  Before my “Stuff” arrived, I lived in the flat with two mattresses, a plant pot, a coffee pot, two mugs, a few toiletries, and one suitcase of clothing items. I survived like this for three weeks.

When my “Stuff” arrived, the movers stacked in 90 boxes and all the furniture items according to the color-coded labels I had meticulously placed on the boxes during the month-long packing process.

Eying my new kitchen that filled to the rim with boxes it inherited from a kitchen three times its size, I realized most of the boxes had no home! So I spent the next few days applying new labels to boxes I knew I could live without and placed them in storage.

The arrival of my “stuff” kept me busy for a few months.  Unpacking, sorting, arranging furniture and cleaning took up a lot of time.  By the time I finished, a storage and two hallways were filled to the rim with boxes I didn’t need immediately.

A few months passed and I came across a book I bought in the US “Simplify your life” by Elaine St. James  The book advised readers to get rid of unused stuff, and take a vow to buy nothing for a year.  Walking past my cluttered hallways, I realized I had lived without the content of those boxes for nearly a year.  “If I can live for a year without this stuff, do I need it?”.. the answer was “NO, I DON’T!”, and so, the purging began.  I had a goal, to empty the storage and hallways in a year.

The process took far less time, and felt much easier than I imagined.  Once I had taken the decision to let go, the boxes found their new owners. People and opportunities came out of nowhere to give away the items.  The more I gave away, the better I felt about the empty space it left behind in my house.

A lot was still left.  And while my vow to refrain from new purchases didn’t go beyond the first year, the practice of buying only the absolute necessities remained.