Got Stuff?

The weight of it all was wearing me down. It was everywhere. But where I felt it most was inside my head.

My stuff.

In my pantry. In the garage. In the trunk of my car. On top of my desk. In the fridge and the cupboards and closets. Not to mention the worst offender: the in-box(s) on all my devices. Ugh.

Clutter makes me anxious. And anxiety was building as the calendar pointed to the end of 2016.
Many would call our house pretty lean. We’ve moved a bunch, the last time being a year ago, when we moved back in after having to relocate while our house was remodeled from the flood. We’ve already purged a lot.
But that was a year ago, which is a long time when we’re talking about our “stuff.”
I swear, when we leave our “stuff” unattended it procreates – especially the post-it notes! I’m guessing you’ve got your share of it too.

I recently read something in Pema Chodrön’s book Taking the Leap. She wrote about being tasked with dispersing her Mother’s possessions after her passing. She noted how many things her Mother carried with her from home to home; things packed in boxes and tucked away in hidden corners. Things that had weight and took up space. Things that now held no meaning for anyone.

We attach meaning to our “things” that represent emotions, trigger memories and keep us attached to our story. They reinforce our connection with our past.

And sometimes they keep us from stepping into our future.

I’m slowly learning this lesson. As I’m going through the phases of purging that often accompany the New Year in our household, I’m reminding myself of the Pema’s observation while dispersing her Mother’s belongings. It’s one of the questions I ask when making decisions about keeping or letting go of my “stuff.”

What meaning am I giving my “stuff.”

If you feel the need to lighten your load, here are 4 more suggestions to help you in this process:
• Is it something you want. When I shifted my approach away from keeping to wanting, the entire contents of a garage storage closet piled on the garage floor boiled to 3 or 4 items that I wanted. And even better, the remaining items held no charge for me whatsoever and became easy to let go of.
• Do you really have space for it. Even if it’s something small, is that how I want to use the space it requires. Every inch of our space doesn’t need to be full after all.
• Does it reflect who you are today. Life is meant to evolve and we are supposed to change as time marches on. So is our “stuff.” If it no longer fits who you are, then it’s probably time to let go of it.
• “Stuff” is energy and energy is not meant to be stagnant. Someone out there needs, wants and would love your “stuff.” Send it on its way and allow it to serve someone else.
The best thing about letting go of things is donating them to someone for whom they will be a gift. There are many, many non-profit organizations available in every neighborhood that welcome donations. Some will even come and pick them up. Just remember, donate usable items only!

And finally, move toward conscious consumerism in your lives. Bring only items you love into your life. And remember that sometimes the gift is complete just by looking at it in the store …. things don’t need to come home with you to be enjoyed. Be selective.

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