You know that “stuff” in your house. It does not really serve a purpose and may sit for years in a closet without you ever seeing it! It clutters up our houses and make cleaning harder! Honestly I like “stuff”. Knickknacks and trinkets. Keepsakes and memories from the past. This can include old baby clothes, toys from your own childhood, souvenirs from trips, old books you may never read again, clothes that are way too small!
When I moved, a year ago, from California to Michigan I had to get rid of “stuff”. We had to fit everything we wanted to bring into a single car! I looked at my lifetime supply of stuff and wanted to cry. I knew I was going to have to make some hard choices!
I was attached to my “stuff”. To me, they represented my past. Things like high school year books, text books from college, old notebooks. I have trophies from high school speech and debate, tapes and leaflets from my time in theater, awards from college, keepsakes from Model United Nations. There was stuff from my trips to Peru, Mexico, and India. I had thousands of pictures! Newborn clothes from my daughter, toys I did not want to let go of. Not to mention a whole wardrobe of clothes I was hoping to fit back in to one day once I lost the weight I gained from my daughter.
I had two weeks to get rid of 25 years of ” stuff”. To be honest it was incredibly hard. I did not realize until that moment how attached I really was to it all, even though I had not even looked at it all for many years but I still mourned the thought of loosing it!
So I sat down and did the task at hand. Decided what was important and what can be donated. I literally cried at some point thinking of loosing all this “stuff”. I look back and shake my head at how ridicules I was being. To be fair to myself, many people leave stuff at their parents house for years but I did not not have that option. My mom lives with my grandma so no extra room there. Literally what I brought with me was what I would ever have from my past! I felt sad thinking how my daughter would not be able to go through my “stuff” and see where her mom had been and what she had done.
I just had to keep repeating to myself, ” it is just stuff!”. I became ruthless about deciding what was worth keeping. I sorted through my trophies and only kept the first place ones. I threw out my high school yearbooks realizing I didn’t really care that much about high school. I donated all those clothes that didn’t fit! I kept 2 nice pieces of Nasreen’s infant clothes and gave the rest away to people with baby girls.I went through my daughters toys, she had countless stuffed animals and such and I donated most of them! I went through the stuff from my trips and only kept the very best and most useful things. I became a minimalist with my kitchen supplies even though I am a avid cook and baker! I left myself with 2 pots, 2 pans, 1 cookie pan, 1 bundt pan, a set of stackable round cakes pans. We gave the microwave away! I even got rid of my toaster! I gave away so many cooking tools! I donated! I am a knitter and I got rid of all my yarn and needles and hooks and left myself with 1 set of knitting needles and one croquet hook! I gave away and threw out so many boxes of “stuff”.
My feelings of sadness and anxiety over loosing my stuff were soon replaced my a feeling of freedom! I looked at the dwindling “stuff ” around me and I felt unburdened by it all. The apartment had more space, I felt like I could breath more easily! I felt like I could go anywhere now! The stuff that rooted me to this spot was gone! I could travel the world if I had the money and the free time of course.
The reality is my “things” do not define how my life was lived! It was the actions of my life, the people that I met, the experiences that I had that really define who I was and where I had been! The “stuff” in our lives do not define who we are!
We are preparing to move back to California at the end of this month. As I pack up our life once again to fit into our car I find that it is easier to get rid of stuff this time around! No more tears, anxiety, or hesitation. My life feels free of “stuff” and I am ready for the road!