Personalizing my office with things that mean something to me. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

We live in a material world. The more space, the more we fill it with.

I understand the minimalist mentality. That less is more. I’m just not embracing that concept right now.

Sure, I could live with the kitchen table that seats two that my mom bought for an 800-plus-square-foot apartment. It looked great there. It worked there. Even though we are using it, we have a larger dining table on order, along with chairs that will belly up to the island. It will be better for the larger space we have. It will be better for entertaining.

We could also make do with her love seat. We could also put guests on a blow up mattress. Instead, we have a queen sofa-sleeper with upgraded mattress on order. The love seat will complement it, so it is staying in the house.

Yes, it’s materialism. It’s also having the comforts of home. Yes, these are wants and not needs. So be it.

I had gotten rid of a good deal of my furniture when I sold my house in Tahoe three years ago. I knew I would be getting new things when the time came. The first things I bought were a mattress and bed. Beyond sleeping, I love to read and work in bed. That is one piece of furniture I did not want to skimp on. I laid on quite a few mattresses before picking the one that is right for me. I love that the frame raises from the head and foot so I don’t have be propped up with pillows.

I can say I have a Mollenhauer in my home. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

The good thing is these big purchases have been at stores in Chico. Some are chains, some are locally owned. They all employ locals, the city gets to collect the sales tax. That part of all of this buying makes me feel good. I’m helping the local economy.

We’ve also gotten rid of a few things that didn’t work in our home. Two pieces of furniture were sold through a Facebook page and the other ended up at a nonprofit.

I’ve also spent money on getting a couple items framed. This was accomplished at another local shop. I wanted quality, not something I would do myself. However, I do want to frame some photos; still need to figure out which ones.

There’s something to be said about surrounding yourself with your things. For three years I had stuff in storage. I kept a few things out that went to Mexico, but nothing substantive. I’m even regretting how well I purged in Tahoe; I wish I had a few things that just can’t be replaced. C’est la vie.

I’m still going through some boxes. How long do I hold onto my letter jacket from high school? Mom thinks I should use it next winter to work in the yard and then get rid of it when it’s worn out. What is the point of keeping clips from reporting jobs when I was in my 20s? Well, for one, it proves there has been an improvement in my writing. But they also aren’t online, so if I toss them, I can’t ever get them back. I might find a service to scan them so I have them in digital form. It’s not like I look at them, so I don’t really know if there is a reason to keep them in any form. Decisions, decisions.

I just want to be able to park the Jeep in the garage and having all this stuff that I don’t know if I want or what to do with is preventing that from happening. That’s a downside to materialism—the stuff we collect and can’t seem to part with becomes clutter. And, yet, all of this are the pieces of my life.

While I am a huge advocate for experiences instead of buying things, there is something to be said about being comfortable in your surroundings. For me, that takes being a bit materialistic. I’m OK with that–at least for now.

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