“Many wealthy people are little more than the janitors of their possessions.” - Frank Lloyd Wright

Several years ago I decided see if I could eventually fit all my possessions in my car. Until recently, this goal seemed like an impossible task. Look at how small that trunk is. The car has no back seat! I also had quite the volume of stuff: couches, a desktop computer, hundreds of books, a bed, a desk, and a closet full of clothes. But I've slowly pared down my possessions after moving nine times in the last seven years.

When I leave in March, I will get rid of the last two pieces of furniture I own: a bed and a desk. Both are on their last legs so I am not concerned with giving them away or trashing them. I read and gave away most of my books (I have about three dozen currently that I'm still going through) and now I only buy books on the Kindle or through O'Reilly. I use a Macbook Pro laptop instead of a desktop computer. Slowly but surely the shift from having lots of "stuff" to a more focused set of useful possessions is happening.

A burden is removed when you stop thinking about buying things and shift into a mindset of only keeping what you need. Combine that mindset with a redoubled focus on the people around you and the experiences you share together. This perspective shift may not be for everyone - materialism is still a big part of the American lifestyle. But reducing possessions and thinking more about those around you is worth a thought while we are in the shadow of the "Great Recession" and most people are already forced to cut back.