Be honest, how much STUFF do you have?
Photos, cards, journals, old school work, ornaments, picture frames, clothes you don’t wear anymore, computers that you don’t use anymore, broken things that you will fix “when I have the time” and a whole myriad of other bits and pieces that you “might just want one day”.
Now, how much of this would you remember that you had if you did open the closet drawer or peer into a box? How long would it take you to notice that it were gone if it suddenly disappeared?
This week I’ve delved into yet another round of de-cluttering. I’m sick of STUFF. I’ve been doing this for years, but I find that each time I manage to get that bit more ruthless… I ask myself:
- Will I really fix this item at some point?
- Will I really wear this one day?
- Do I really need this item to remember that part of my life?
- Can I keep this in a memory, or do I feel like I need the item?
We hold on to so much. So many of us are so terribly un-practiced at the art of “letting go”. We often feel that by discarding something or passing it to a new home, that we are losing a part of ourselves. Who are we if we don’t have all these things to define our journey, our phases, or to prompt our memories?
We ask ourselves “but what if I forget??” It’s a good question: what if you do forget? Obviously the answer will depend on the person and the particular thing that we’d like to hold on to. I suppose the greater or more real question that I’m asking here is whether we need all of our “stuff” in order to know who we are.
I propose that sometimes in the collection of stuff that we can get caught up in the past and hold on to stories of who we were – that at times, we can actually hold ourselves back by these histories that we grasp to. I propose that through going through our stuff and keeping only what we really need or want, we may potentially free ourselves up to move forward in ways that we haven’t before.
To clear out clutter can not just clear out a living space and make it more pleasant to live in, but that it can also help us to let go of stories, memories and ideas that we hold of ourselves. Stories that might be preventing us from growing in different areas of our life.
I can’t tell you both how difficult but also how liberating I’m finding the process of throwing things out. The question that seems to come up the most for me is “do I really need this, or am I just finding it difficult to let go?”
Some times though, the letting go – even when painful – can feel like a weight lifted. Each time I let go of something, I feel like there is an extra degree of lightness in my step… It is that lightness that propells me to keep challenging myself!
I wonder how it is for you?