Letting go of more “stuff”

image courtesy pixabay.com

Just when you think you are done decluttering

When I moved into my apartment nearly a year ago, I brought everything I owned (minus my bed and a small table) in two car loads, a PT Cruiser and the trunk of my Mitsubishi Lancer.  I was pretty impressed by that fact after needing to rent UHaul trucks to move in the past. My previous move involved a 17 foot truck so I had come a long way.

Then yesterday arrived. It was raining, yet unusually warm for March. The spring cleaning bug hit, big time. I began to clean out the closet. Now, my closet isn’t huge it measures  5 feet by 2 feet, but it is where I store everything. All my clothes, (I don’t own a dresser any longer), my holiday decorations, a fan and outdoor chairs, sheets, a few books, and some craft supplies. I only have the one closet in my apartment, but that’s enough for me.

I began to wonder why we so attached to our “things”.   We have an obsession with shopping and accumulating stuff for our homes and ourselves. When I am out shopping with friends they find me funny.  I should say when I am out with my friends who are shopping, I mostly window shop.  If something attracts my attention I have to know where I will use it or I won’t buy it. Notice I said “use it”, not where I can “put it”. One word can make a huge difference when it comes to how my home feels to me.

My friends don’t quite get this concept. Most believe that if an item catches your eye you should buy it. Why can’t one simply appreciate beauty without having to own it?

Take a look at the parking lots around your local mall or shopping centers. The parking lots are full daily.  Are people shopping because they believe that new outfit, or big screen television will show that they arrived at their version the American Dream?

We hear a lot about the American Dream, but what was the original meaning of the phrase? Wikipedia defines the American Dream as “…upward social mobility achieved through hard work.” and also quotes James Truslow Adams who stated “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone…”

Upward social mobility through hard work is what I thought the Dream was. My grandparents each coming from the depression era had very little growing up. As adults they worked hard, and lived within their means. Credit cards were never used. They even paid cash for their cars.  They ended up with so much more than they had when they were younger and they did it through hard work.

But when does hard work detract from a “better and richer and fuller” life?  I believe it detracts when our wants are so great that we end up working long hours, doing work we may not even enjoy, we no longer have time to enjoy the things we need..

We have entire businesses which cater to our needs to store and organize our stuff. Don’t get me wrong, some of the items found can be very useful, when organizing items we need to have.  I have a couple of items for storage in my home because they work better than a piece of furniture which would have cluttered up my tiny apartment.

I have a hanging clothes organizer which holds almost all my clothes eliminating the need for a dresser.  I have 4 CD storage boxes. one holds DVDs, one crayons and markers for the grandchildren, one holds sewing supplies, and the other holds my tools.  That’s all I bought to organize my stuff!

Instead of seeking more organizational and storage options why not question why you have the items you need to store? I recently came across an article by the Minimalists which includes a wonderful list of six questions we can use to decide which items we need to hold on to.  There were two questions which stood out for me. They are, “why did I buy this?” and “What would happen if I didn’t have this any more?”

With those two questions I’m heading back to my tiny closet to finish decluttering it. The spring cleaning bug hasn’t left me yet, although only finding the one spot in my home to clean out is quite different from past years. What a freeing experience this is

UPDATE: less than an hour later my closet is finished, here is how my clothes are stored.


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