We don't want to have a LOT of stuff, we want to have the right stuff.
Because 'stuff' can easily clutter up our life, keeping us 'busy', and getting between ourselves and others. 'Stuff' can make us miss what truly matters. A big part of that is the emotion of desire - we always seem to want more. That just comes with being human.
So we accumulate stuff for many reasons: buying stuff is satisfying. But briefly and not deeply. Plus, stuff is safe. Stuff won't break your heart or reject you. Stuff won't cheat on you or leave you. Stuff won't dissappoint you the way a failed business venture might, or a creative pursuit could...so we tell ourselves. Stuff is easy pleasure.
There are great benefits from living a simplified lifestyle.
The Cost of Things
But stuff requires a lot of energy: you have to take care of, store, clean, maintain, and move your stuff. Which all takes time.
Nowadays, I look at almost every purchase with: "How much energy will this take to store/clean/maintain, etc?" I don't just look at what it will give me, which is what desire does, but also what it cost me, in the long term.
Things often cost more than we realize. Here's a few examples:
1. Stuff takes up space in your head. You have to think about your stuff. It weighs on your mind. For example: you won't park your expensive bike just anywhere or with just any lock.
2. A big house will take more time to clean than a small one. And more money to furnish. And decorate - no one wants to live in a big empty house.
3. Car's need maintenance, oil changes, insurance, tires, gas, brakes...and an accident can be *very* expensive.
4. A cat or dog's vet bills can be in the thousands of dollars. They get arthritis and cancer and have accidents just like humans.
5. If you buy something and it's the wrong one, it will take time to return it.
The person with a big house full of stuff, a car and a dog can not respond to an inner impulse to travel - or play - as immediately as someone with less stuff. Even if you want to go somewhere for just a week, the dog or cat will need a sitter, and so on.
Not to mention how many hours of work you have to work each week just to pay for your stuff.
There is freedom and joy in having less, in having everything we need to accomplish our purpose, to do our work, and not much more.
And besides this, the desire-cycle is endless and addictive. And some say pain is an intrinsic part of it... wanting and then having that desire satisfied just leads to more wanting.
And endless pursuit.
And it's an endless pursuit locked in a very self-centered view.
When will we have enough, and begin to serve others self-lessly?
"Indulging in sensual desires is like licking honey off a razor."
Instead of extending our love to others, desire makes us self-centered. We become focused on our own satisfaction. Yet satisfaction really comes through purpose, from accomplishing something, self-discipline, service and compassion. Satisfaction can be an inner growing sense of contentment that doesn't rely on outer things.
The lower nature of personality is materialistic, but our higher nature is purposeful and transcendent - but we only know our higher Nature (Buddha Nature or Christ Nature) by practicing it. Maybe we become Love by practicing loving - thinking with caring, and doing such activity in the world.
So...lol... I try to have the RIGHT stuff, and not a lot of stuff!
Which means the right clothes, and not a lot of clothes I never wear.
The right computer, not one that's too old and gives me constant problems, or one much fancier than I need.
The right home, the right food, the right everything.
We are learning to be both attached to what matters, and detached from what doesn't.
A simple life also makes great clarity possible. It frees you to focus on your work: your chosen vocation and purpose, and to do it well, even if it's "just" self-healing (a very important work which many avoid).
A simple life allows you to spend time with people, enjoying them and serving them. And to relate to God/Mind/Higher Self, and to grow in that relationship.
To grow the inner qualities of intuition, vision, knowledge and love, takes time and focus.
With a simple life, you have the time and space to do that, to study both skills-for-living, and deep truth - which you can then share.
A simple, modest life also allows you to have something left over, something to share, with the hungry, the sick or the poor.
You have the time and space to create a life of depth, instead of a life of busy-ness.
You are free to focus on just a few things, and do them well, instead of doing many things poorly. And if you don't know what those few things are - you have the time and space to figure that out.
A simple life also has room for silence, where our receptivity to our spirit's direction and understanding is greater.