Over the course of my career, I’ve learned that most people own things just because they were told somewhere along the way that they should own them. Today’s the day I break some great news: you don’t actually have to own anything you don’t want or need! And, if you slow down and question the things that surround you, you may be able to dramatically lighten your load.
Here are just five of the many things I realized I can happily live without:
We nixed the microwave when we opened up our kitchen and lost an entire wall of storage space. I thought it would be the end of days, but turns out we’re all ok. In fact, my kids noticed that reheating food in a skillet, or on a baking sheet, actually makes the food taste better. Good-bye soggy leftovers! Since we’re on the subject, it might be time to let those other space taking, occasional use appliances go – waffle makers, ice-cream machines, panini press, rice cookers, juicers… Consider how often you use these bulky beasts, and make sure they are worth the space they take up in your kitchen or pantry.
This California hot take is sure to be controversial, but I must speak my truth. Other than doing a mediocre job blocking the rain, an umbrella’s number one job is to be left behind or to break. That is literally all they do. I, for one, would rather occasionally get wet than spend the rest of my life buying and misplacing umbrellas every winter. The end.
Funny story: I spent full decades of my life suffering under the delusion that I needed to own a pair of khaki slacks in order to be a professional. The funny part is, I never ever wore said khaki slacks – not at any of the jobs I had, nor for any more formal occasions. I think someone must have told me at some point when I was young and impressionable that a good pair of khakis are a critical wardrobe staple – and it stuck. But, once I realized I was an adult and I could wear what I wanted, I donated them and didn’t look back. Same goes for formal dresses. I just don’t feel like myself in a formal dress, nor do I really have any occasion where they are required anymore. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where most people are aggressively casual, and I’ve survived the period in life where everyone around me seemed to be getting married. I’ve owned the same black cotton maxi dress for years, and I can dress it up when necessary, or just wear heels and a blouse when I need to step it up a notch. No gowns for this lady.
Much to the disappointment of most people in my life, I am not much of a drinker, but I do love to host and entertain. Instead of cluttering up our cabinets with a massive array of specialty glassware, we keep it super simple and use this simple set of glasses for everything from water to cocktails (even if someone wants to make a martini on a whim), and these glasses for both red and white wine (judge if you must!). The moral of this story is that if people are drinking in good company they are usually pretty happy and don’t care what vessel you provide.
Ten Thousand Skincare Products
My mom’s all natural face looks amazing, and she has been using good old fashioned soap, SPF, and inexpensive moisturizer her entire life. When it comes to skincare, I truly believe that genetics rule (a good diet, being conscious of the sun, and lots of sleep probably don’t hurt) and most beauty products are a total racket. I used to have a massive bin overflowing with all the products and samples, but now I stick to a simple regimen of staples I can count on one hand. Even if you love a good serum, face mask, or under eye cream, you can pare down your daily regimen to a handful of high quality products. Using less products means you can invest in the best and – bonus – they’re easy to pack, store, and make keeping your bathroom organized a breeze.
Take a few minutes (fifteen minute win?) and look around your home with a curious eye. What items are you hanging on to simply because you feel like you have to, or because some random person advised you to? What items could you let go of without really feeling the impact? I’d love to know!
Photography: Vivian Johnson Photography