The topic of simplification has come up again because I recently read a book about de-cluttering. The book contained many how-to’s – until the end. The end dealt with the “why’s”.
There are only two reasons we live with too much stuff. One is that we are holding onto the past. The second is the clutching thought about the future, “What if I need this someday?”
Memories from the past live in our minds and hearts. They make us smile, laugh or cry. It doesn’t require stuff to recall a precious memory. And the truth is that we have moved on to a different day in which to make more memories.
I have three children and nine pieces of art or writing. I kept and framed one each of their artwork and their clay models. But I will admit I have also held onto a few miscellaneous items, such as the note to me from one of my daughters complaining that her sister had called her a name and it wasn’t fair.
We won’t forget about the things our children brought home from school, creations of love made for a birthday or the words that came out of their mouths. Here’s one of mine. Upon my request to clear the den of her toys, I asked my middle child if she could take one more book with her. “I can’t mommy. I’m full of hands.” I now use that expression myself. We don’t need ‘things’ to hold onto our memories.
However, no one is perfect at this task! I will never again wear the “mother-of-the-bride” dress. All of my children are married, and, the memories are not in the fabric! So why is it still hanging in my closet?
The key is to be aware and work on it.
The second reason for clutter is that we are trying to control the future. I may need that… I know I will want to use that some day. Do a quick check in your closets. How many things have been there for years in the belief that “maybe, just maybe” you will use them again? We have no clue what the future will be. All things will shift and we will evolve. Transition will be more difficult if we don’t let go of who we were and what we had.
Most importantly, stuff is not passive. It consumes space and time. It drains us of energy when we look at or think about our extra stuff. It sits somewhere taunting us to give it attention, even when that attention has good motivation. Look at those boxes. I really need to get to them.
“Stuff” weighs us down on so many levels. Isn’t life full enough?
Questions: What is your mother-of-the-bride item? Do you want to live as who you were? Do you want to live as who you “might” be? Or do you want to be who, and where, you are now?