My father had a transferable job and almost every year that he moved to a new place, the family moved too. From every place we collected not only memories but also souvenirs. We had trunks that would carry our house from one place to another. As the years rolled by, the number of trunks increased. Theirs (my parents’) was an age of thrift – for instance, we wouldn’t get a new school bag till the old one couldn’t carry books (or anything) anymore. If my father was posted at a far-off place, things essential or desired couldn’t always be purchased right away either because they were not available or because we couldn’t afford to buy new things every time. It is tough to live in want. So, we began accumulating things that we thought were needed now or in future. And, now we live in an age of plenty but the habit is still there – our love for things, the availability of attractive variety of goods, and easy money transactions using plastic/electronic currency has added to pile of things we no longer need.
On the other hand, I see a few wise men and women who live minimalistic lifestyles – they know when to clear clutter and throw/give away unwanted stuff, and execute this cleaning-up with enthusiasm. Few go far and execute this in their lives too – they know when to say no and when to say yes; they keep their lives also clutter-free by not committing to things that are not essential for them. How one can move to minimalism and then to essentialism is explained in this conversation about a book on the same topic. The first link is a pdf file from which you can read. If you would rather listen and watch, click on the second link.