Why I Love My Cupboards (Almost) Bare

You don’t have to be a Spartan to appreciate the value of owning fewer things.

So I happily add a browning avocado half to my morning scrambled eggs. My shower holds but one shampoo, one hair conditioner and one body wash. I use up each one before bringing in another. The times when the bathroom was cluttered with four half-used containers of hair products stressed me out—” the pressure was on not to waste money.

My makeup collection consists of one foundation, a favorite blush, two eyeliners and mascara—” plus a handful of lipsticks (cut me some slack—” I’m a girl!). I used to maintain a giant plastic tub of half-used cosmetics, a constant source of guilt because of money spent on unused items housed in plastic tubes that eventually would be dumped in a landfill.

My philosophy is practical, too. Life is simpler owning less. When I throw open the linen closet door in a quest for a Band-Aid to cover my son’s scraped elbow, I like everything in plain sight and not having to dig for what I need under heaps of bed linens and medical supplies. When you know just how many boxes of pasta line the pantry and what spices are on the rack, you’re less likely to buy duplicates.

Embracing this way of living didn’t come to me easily. I grew up in a house where the mentality was “more is more.” I married a man who loved to shop and collect music, photos, shoes and mementoes. Some people I care about very much find comfort and a sense of abundance in having lots of stuff around them. Intellectually, I get that. But for me, using up the teeniest, tiniest last sliver of soap or glancing at my (almost) bare cupboards gives me a deep, nearly spiritual, sense of contentment.

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Tagged in: Spending, Emma Johnson