Letting Go

I like my stuff.

Some of my stuff was mine when I was a child.

Some of my stuff…was my grandmother’s…my dad’s…my mom’s….given to me by special friends…reminds me of places, events, good times….

Some of my stuff was acquired by my own volition (aka I bought it). And, some of my stuff was acquired at the whim of others.

Why do I like my stuff?

Good question.

An even better question is – why do I keep my stuff?

As I look around me, I see stuff.  A lot of stuff. It doesn’t take long for a small house/room to fill up with stuff…just “everyday living” stuff takes up a lot of space.

“One day,” I think, “I’ll want/need/use this.” Or, “I can’t get rid of this…it reminds me of….” Or, “If I get rid of this what if the giver finds out?” And, “this makes me smile when I see it.”

I have too much stuff and too much stuff equals clutter. And, clutter leads to confusion…or creates confusion…or is created by confusion.

What do I need to let go of? And, how best can I do so?

What can I live without? (In truth, I can live without most of what I have if it’s true that to survive we only need the basics (air, water, sunlight, food, shelter…).

Perhaps the questions I need to ask myself are:

  • What can I live without, happily?
  • What can I live happily without?
  • What would I be happier without?
  • What steps do I need to take to let go of some of this stuff?

Letting go can be hard if we cling to what is instead of embracing what can be.

Stuff reminds us of where we were and who we were and who we were with.  Stuff is comfy. And, we all like to be comfortable and surrounded with things familiar to us…beloved by us.

Take a moment and imagine your life lived as a minimalist. What would it look like? In some ways, would it be freeing…less complicated?

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Garage Living

Why do we hang onto things that we no longer need…use…really want?

I look out my back door and can easily see into 10 backyards.  In those 10 backyards, I can see 6 storage buildings as well as garages. Our backyard does not have a storage building but we do have a small garage.

If you entered our garage you would find our lawnmower and my gardening supplies. Our washer and dryer are there as well – it serves as our laundry room.

You would also find a multitude of “things” – some in boxes, some not.  There are bookcases, desks, containers…stuff too numerous to name.

All of it stored in the garage.

Why?

Because our house is small and there is no room for it.

Because we can’t bear to get rid of it.

Because we might live in a larger house one day and want the stuff.

Because it has sentimental value (whatever that is…it seems “sentimental” and “value” shouldn’t be in the same sentence).

Because it belongs to someone else.

Because we simply don’t know what to do with it all.

Within the garage is a maze.  It runs from the back door through the stacks of items, past the washer/dryer, beyond the stuff until it comes to the large front door where it turns right and proceeds across the front of the garage and ends at the far wall where Daughter’s “stuff” resides.

While at the grocery recently, Daughter started to purchase plastic food containers to use for work lunches.

I said, “Why buy more? You have a box of stuff just like that in the garage.”

Daughter replied, “Yeah, I know, but I don’t know where the box is.”

“I know – I found it the other day and placed it where you could get to it,” I answered.

What I didn’t tell her is that the pathway I created to be able to see what was in that particular box no longer exists.  I had rearranged some of the “stuff” and to reach it, one would need to climb over a stack of boxes and things…or recreate a path to it.

I can give her a compass and point her in the general direction, give her a description of the box and wish her luck. I can tie a rope around her waist in case she becomes lost in the maze created by garage living.

“One day,” I say, “things will be different.”

Yes, one day…but not today.