What do you really really need?

My approach to deciding what will be part of my life and whatnot

Sitting on the balcony, it’s already dark outside, the air is still warm and I am in a relaxed mood. I am thinking about Saturday, where I am going on vacation to Denmark for a week and what I need to take with me or prepare.

Besides that my brain wanders around all the stuff that I could carry with me, which basically ends up in one question: What do I really need? Not for the trip, but in my life in general.

Therefore I always asking myself a few questions, either when I am decluttering or when I am planning a purchase.

Does it fulfill a need?

In the past, I had this urge, this urge of going on Amazon and just getting something. I thought I deserve to buy something because I am working so hard. Just to keep me happy.

That ended up in a huge amount of money thrown to Amazon and a home full of stuff. After getting rid of most of the stuff I know, I wouldn’t have needed anything of that.

These days I am asking myself, do I really need this? Does it fulfill a need? For example, my last purchase was a metal water bottle. And yes, this fulfills a need for me, even multiple:

  • I need to stay hydrated
  • I want to be able to fill up my water before I leave a location
  • I don’t want to use more plastic than necessary
  • Tap water is clean in Germany, so I don’t need to buy water bottles on the way

So I really thought about if I would need this and decided based on that. I didn’t think, yeah a bottle would be nice to have. I was annoyed by running into the supermarket all the time and buying water bottles and bringing them back after they are empty.

Do I own it just in case?

My family consists of craftsmen, so when I got out on my own and left my parents house I needed tools because men need tools!

Except for the screwdriver that I now own for like 5 years I didn’t really use a tool more than once.

Yeah, but when you need it, you got it there. No, I maybe need a tool when I move to another apartment, then I can easily lend it from somewhere. So I picked up these boxes and gave them to my father, which can make way more use out of that.

This stuff is now not wasting space in my home because of just in case situations.

Does it fit my goals or the person I want to be?

When I am at the process of decluttering, I am always asking myself, does this still fit me?

For example about clothes: Am I the person that wants to wear this? By asking these questions I got rid off about 80 percent of my closet.

One of my goals is also to be as flexible as possible. To be able to hop on a flight or train in no time. Does a huge camera setup with 10 lenses and 37 batteries match that, surely not?

I don’t want to be known to be the guy that needs days to prepare for a two-day trip. I want to be that “Let’s go” kind of guy, that is always ready for the next thing.

By answering this question, who you want to be and if a certain item matches your goals, you probably will identify a lot of things that need to go or where you can downsize.

Does it make me happy?

A simple but also powerful question. Does this item make me happy, does it add value to my life?

One item from that I will definitely keep from my current apartment is the dining table. It’s an oak tabletop and I love sitting there, drinking coffee, writing, taking notes, reading, spending time with other people. This table makes me happy.

So ask yourself, does this item make you happy? Or does it maybe remind you of something good in your life?

But be cautious with this one and don’t tell yourself that all of your stuff makes you happy. I don’t believe you. Be honest with yourself? How does it add value? Why does it add value?


After asking myself these few questions, I could really downsize a lot.

I am not at the point and it will take some time that I only own the things that fit these question, but they help me stay on track and take my decluttering serious.