January 15, 2013

Letting Go of a Lifetime of Stuff

I was born into a family of collectors. This is a wonderful thing and it's enriched my life, as well as come in very handy. Not many people could volunteer to decorate for a "construction-themed" luncheon and round up 35 vintage metal dump trucks to use as centerpieces (borrowed from my generous grandpa's collection).

Even now, I collect English ironstone dishes as well as vintage post cards and little knick knacks I've picked up throughout my travels. I love my collections. They bring me lots of joy...from the hunt to find new pieces to choosing the exact right place to display them.

But somewhere along the way, I ended up collecting a lot of extra stuff that didn't fit into any collection. I collected stuff like my life depended on it. I went to yard sales. I shopped from clearance racks. I bought things because they were cheap or because I wanted one in every color. I bought things that I thought somebody might be able to use...never mind that I wasn't that somebody or I had no idea when the need for those things would arise (if ever).

From my childhood bedrooms (we moved a few times) to my college dorm room to my post-college condominium, I've never had a massive amount of space to call my own. But the space I did/do have has always felt like less because of my stuff. Stuff filled my closets, spilled out of my jam-packed drawers and lined the walls.

I thought my stuff belonged to me. I'm finally figuring out that the truth is, I belong to it. What I never realized is that my stuff has been suffocating me. Have you ever felt this way?

It's kind of embarrassing to even talk about. I mean, there are people in the world who have nothing. Literally nothing. And I'm complaining because I have too much. [crickets chirping].

But I'm not beating myself up....just looking at it from that perspective.

Anyway, 2013 has ushered in a new era for me. I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm letting go of stuff. I mean really letting go of stuff. Cleaning it out, bagging it up and hauling it away. And it feels amazing. Like I-can't-wait-to-wake-up-in-the-morning-and-donate-it-all-to-Goodwill amazing.

Maybe I'm the only recovering wanna-be hoarder out there who has experienced this. But I wanted to share because if there's just one more like me, I want you to be encouraged. You don't need all that stuff. Seriously. There's a lot of freedom in letting go.