Here’s the reality of my life: The older I get, the less I realize I want (and, more importantly, need). And I really mean that.

See, we live in a culture that teaches us that working hard is a means to getting more stuff. And in some cases, for some people, that’s absolutely true. But the older I get, the more I’m realizing that I’m not one of those people because I don’t want more, I actually want less.

Now I know this seems like kind of a contradictory statement considering it seems like a large chunk of people work toward accumulating wealth and property and grown-up-type toys as they get older, and I’m realizing that those things just don’t appeal to me much anymore. Things like second homes and boats and cars and hedge funds (ok, maybe I’ll keep the hedge fund).

But I certainly don’t judge anyone who does want those things. Because we’re all entitled to decide what makes us happy. And if those are your goals and that truly makes fulfills you, then you do you. It’s just that, for me, the older I get the more inclined I’ve become to purge myself of all the extra crap that’s filling the spaces around me.

The truth is, I’ve spent a lot of time lately taking real stock of the things around me, especially the stuff that fills my house and garage and shopping cart, and I’m keeping bonafide mental notes of how often I use all these things and whether or not they’re really even necessary to my day-to-day life. And what I’ve realized is that I’ve got a pretty decent list of things I can legitimately, easily and happily live without. And I just wonder, am I the only one feeling this way, or could you maybe be feeling this way too?

I mean, I definitely did my share of walking around our house and dreaming about all the renovating I wanted to do. Like how I wanted to bust through walls and expand our floorplan and build a second floor to give everyone more room. And how I wanted to make our bedroom bigger and the living room wider and add all kinds of new storage solutions to be able to more efficiently store all the stuff we have.

But then, as the years have gone by, and I’ve really lived in our house, I’ve recognized that creating more of it would only create more space between all of us who live here. We’d be further apart and more isolated from each other and separated by different levels and more walls. And I don’t want that. I don’t want that at all. In fact, at this point, I want the complete opposite of that. Because as my kids grow older and add more and more components to their lives — in the way of their own people and their own things — I want to enjoy being as close to them as possible when we’re all together under the same roof.

The bottom line being that, for me, more space would just make my home feel cavernous instead of cozy. And I’ve grown to really love cozy. And to much extra stuff just makes me feel overwhelmed and wasteful at this stage of my life. After all, it feels like we’ve already got everything we need under our one little roof (almost within arms-reach, actually) and I’m good with that. I’m also good with only having one pair of winter boots and only one of each vital kitchen tool. Because how many whisks and wooden strawberry hullers does one woman need?

I’ve also been spending more time on my bike in the warm weather and less in my car, and in the little quiet corner of my living room floor or on a yoga mat, and in my yard pulling weeds, and just outside in the world, being connected to as much of what’s going on around me as possible. Because the truth is, while so many people around me seem to be head down and hyper-focused on grinding away at checking things off their to-do list, I’ve been working hard at stepping back and putting the list aside enough to savor and appreciate everything I’ve already got. And it feels really, really good.

I don’t know, maybe I’ve just watched enough minimalist lifestyle and tiny house videos on YouTube that it’s changed my thinking. Or maybe I’ve just plateaued in my quest to accumulate stuff. Or maybe my own personal priorities are just falling into alignment.

Either way, here’s a little reminder that most of us could probably get by with far less of the incidentals that fill our world and still be just as happy. Maybe even happier. Because being content under our own roof and in our own head and in our own heart comes from putting value on the people and relationships in our life, not all the stuff they come with.

Remember, simple doesn’t equal less, although it’s a common correlation. Ironically, though, simple often means more. Because when we strip ourselves down to the basics of what we really need, whether it’s food or gadgets or commitments or even people, we tend to appreciate and love and connect with the purest form of those thing. Not to mention that the simpler our life is, we the less stuff we have to manage, which, in turn, means we have less stuff to stress over.

So, this little journey I’m on toward more and more simplicity in my life may very well end up taking me (and Dave) to a tiny house with a tiny farm someday in the not-too-distant future. Or it may just keep incenting me to keep scrutinizing what I fill my life with. Time will tell. In the meantime, I’m just keeping it simple and keeping Goodwill very, very happy.
— Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at Or, find them on, Hot Moms Club,,, More Content Now, and She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is and Untying Parent Anxiety: 18 Myths That Have You in Knots—And How to Get Free available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at select bookstores.