I no longer like "stuff".
As a kid I LOVED stuff. I kept everything. Pins, buttons, small stones, pieces of paper, plastic trinkets, ticket stubs. Drawers and drawers of stuff. It wasn't about the stuff, per se. It was about two things. Either the memories associated with the stuff or the desire to please others by having what they needed immediately so as to solve a thorny problem. If I kept the parts to everything, if I kept all of the remnants of things, I would always be prepared, right?
I wasn't prepared. I was buried. I could never find what I needed and I felt like these things were weighing on me. They were hard to dust around. Difficult to organize. There was no breathing room. But I kept packing them into boxes and hauling them around with me from place to place anyway.
Until the HouseInProgress. Where we ended up with more stuff...someone else's stuff. A lot of someone else's stuff. And, over the past three years, I have started to become a reformed stuff addict. And I like it.
How have I been getting rid of it?
That was just scratching the surface. Although initially anxiety-producing, letting go of these items was a relief. I felt lighter. Our space felt cleaner. It was easier to find things. The things that were chosen to stay were the most attractive and nice things so it was like putting my best foot forward.
One day, as I was dropping off another donated station wagon load of "stuff" from the house, I had a chat with someone in the thrift store who was curious about the boxes and boxes of things I was dragging in there. It turns out that, when her mother passed away, this dutiful daughter had to travel to another state and go through her mother's house. Which was packed--basement to attic--with stuff. She held three estate sales in an attempt to liquidate. What remained was shipped via TRACTOR TRAILER to her home state where it has sat, in storage, for four years.
"I keep meaning to go through it. I mean, that stuff is really worth something!" she exclaimed.
"How much do you pay for your storage space?" I asked.
"Oh about $400 a month," she replied.
My jaw dropped. She had paid over $20,000 to have these things shipped and stored for four years. And had no plan for getting rid of them.
I came home and started clearing out things in earnest...
(to be continued)