Does-Your-Stuff-Own-You

Have you discovered that you’re no longer able to find anything in your own garage? Are you always having to step around things just to make it through your bedroom? Does it seem like you are spending more time dusting and cleaning your stuff and not enough time enjoying life? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I’m thinking you probably have too much stuff that owns you.

Let’s take a little closer look at all this stuff. Do the three jars of odd nuts and bolts in the garage really add value to anything? None of them match each other anyway. Do those shirts at the end of the closet, which you haven’t warn since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, still need to be there. Remember they no longer fit. So when was the last time you actually road that bike, or played that guitar, or used anything in that junk drawer? I think most of us have some low hanging fruit that could easily be gotten rid of and provide someone else that actually needs it some joy.

Why do we let all this clutter control our lives? It always seems to get in our way when we’re trying to get to something behind it. Some people are truly hoarders and this article won’t address those situations.

The other situations are the one’s I have trouble trying to figure out. Is it that we’re trying to be prepared for every possibility that could ever come up in the future. Maybe that explains the existence of those jars of nuts and bolts that don’t fit anything, or how many junk drawers we now have. Could it be that we’re holding on to the past and we’re not living in the present? That might explain those shirts that we use to be able to fit into, or that bicycle that has two flat tires and rusted spokes.

Whatever the situation might be, with the exception of those truly suffering from compulsive hoarding, that is causing all this resistance toward getting rid of clutter can be addressed. I personally feel that my stuff falls into two categories, and each category follows guidelines in determining what stays and what goes:

  • Sentimental Items: I have some items that mean a lot to me. I won’t get rid of them. However, it takes a strong order to be raised to that level! I run races and throw the medals away. I don’t have a copy of the newspaper from the day my daughter was born. The point I’m trying to make is that if everything is so special and means so much, then it only dilutes the value of the truly special things in our lives.
  • Useful Items: If I haven’t used it, warn it, taken it for a walk, or eaten it in the past 6 months I most likely don’t need it. This is the easier of the two categories to manage. Just be honest to yourself. Quit spending the time, effort, frustration, stress and money to maintain all that stuff and let it go if it no longer is useful to you. I’m sure it could provide someone else with some real joy.

In closing let’s put it another way. Your life has come to an end and it’s your time to leave. Do you really want to put all that stress and responsibility on your children, or someone else, to have to go through all that stuff you wouldn’t let go.

Categories: Minimalism