It seems just the act of letting go of some things makes it so much easier to let go of even more things. But being emotionally attached to things makes it even harder to let them go.
I swear I can’t let go of that old ratty pink sweater my mother once wore and that old worn bible she gave me as a teenager, my childhood photos and my son’s baby shoes and rattle seems the hardest and then there’s my father’s old black leather wallet and all the birthday, anniversary and valentine day cards my husband ever gave to me.
As far back as I could remember I’ve always been the kind of person that wanted to live a minimalist lifestyle, but there were times I was always so close but never close enough. I tell you I always admired people whose lives are full but with less stuff taking up their space.
Each spring I make the attempt by clearing more space. We take the time to DE-clutter, freshen, clean, give away and throw away things that no longer serve a purpose.
This week we got rid of at least four huge plastic bags full of stuff from the kitchen, the laundry area, two closets and a ton of old blankets we no longer find useful. And it felt wonderful! To me it’s like shedding pounds from your body.
In the past there was the time we had so much more stuff tucked away nice and neatly in closets and what woke me up was when we started packing to move across country from the city. I tell you there were days when I had thoughts of packing only one suit case of clothes and then walk away from all the rest. LOL!
So as we packed we let go, we threw away, sold and we gave away things until reduced by half. Then moving truck day came, we still had too much stuff and we were forced to throw away more.
Once at our new home we had to move out some of the stuff that was already in the house and sheds and as we unloaded our stuff we let go of even more stuff. And so every year ever since it’s been a mission of learning to let go of even more stuff. We stopped buying more things only replaced major appliances such as a refrigerator or stove.
Now if you were to walk into my house today the first thing you’d notice is how the freshly painted walls are bare in every room except for the living room. There’s only two beautiful pieces of art and one photo on the wall in that room and it’s made a huge difference in that the house feels more open and clear.
The second thing you would notice is the nick knacks are gone. Reduced by half and kept in one place, in a glass cabinet for display in one room.
Finally we have two rooms in the house that are totally clutter free now. YAAHOO! And those rooms are the master bedroom and the living room.
Our front and back yard and porch are clutter free and simple. All that’s required is the grass cut every two weeks and rose bushes trimmed once a year. I cannot tell you how nice it is to sit on the porch or to roll up to the house and see it is clear, clean and clutter free. But getting there took a lot of emotional work.
The only areas left to go are my sitting room, a spare bedroom, two closets and I still have some unused crafts and some holiday decorations that needs to go. Then to cut down on the amount of books to half again because we got rid of half last spring too.
Some people suggest we put things in a shed or pay for outside storage but I prefer to get rid of it all little by little and once and for all. Paying money in storage to me is like money being thrown in the garbage. Not paying for someone to hold on to things that could easily be sold or let go eventually makes better sense.
Then the final thing for me would be to let go of more of my own clothing.
As far as my clothing is concerned. I’d still like to reduce the amount of clothes I own by half and then to only twenty items. I was thinking to sticking with just two colors and three styles. Doing that can reduce the anxiety and stress of finding and deciding on what to wear each day.
I want only twelve everyday garments to be of two colors, either black or white and have three styles of clothing of either a dress, skirt or blouse.
And have on reserve in the back of my closet three dressy garments and three pretty multi color dresses I really love and let all the rest of my clothes go. I tell you too many choices that goes along with having too many clothing can be such a burden after a while.
I’d like to reduce my winter coats and shoes to half of what I own. As I got rid of half and I still want to get rid of half more.
Next I see myself working on the little things, such as my jewelry box and bringing down the number of pieces to only a few and let the rest go.
Each spring so far my husband and I let go of three or more huge plastic bags full of stuff. And each time we do it I still feel a bit frustrated because it feels we are not progressing as fast as I’d like to see us go, but I remind myself by thinking about how far we have come and that we are much closer to our goals of less and less stuff.
It’s been five years since on this journey and habits are hard to break. Having emotional attachment to stuff is crippling to say the least. Its more difficult when you have more then one person living in the same space as well.
The fact that it benefits all in the household, being in a space that is clear of so much stuff and where life is more structured and things are easier to find is obvious. It allows more time to do the things we love doing and less time cleaning all that stuff. I think it’s spiritual too because living in a clear, clean and uncluttered space allows clearer thinking and time for more creativity. I already can feel the benefits of letting go of what we have so far and I don’t regret it.
So yeah, a little here and a little there, we are more than half way there.
Maybe I won’t let go of my mothers pink sweater, my fathers wallet, my son’s baby shoes, rattle, that old bible and my childhood photo’s but I will let go of some of those sentimental cards, maybe not all but some I will keep. I know one day I will look up and have nothing else to let go except for the things I need and truly want. The things I must keep I will put in a small box for safe keeping, but for right now I’ll settle for the progress we’ve made so far because each year that we work on it brings us that much closer to achieving our goals.
Just a little bit more to go and we will have it accomplished.