Thursday, January 1, 2015

Enough

One thing we loved about this house when we bought it was its abundance of storage space. The big closets, built-in drawers and shelves sure come in handy.

The downside of all that storage space is that you can hold on to a lot of stuff without even realizing it.

Today I cleaned out some drawers that, I realized, I hadn't touched since we moved in more than a decade ago. At least one object, a novelty key chain, I had no memory of ever seeing before. Obviously I stuck it in the drawer as soon as I got it, not knowing what else to do with it, and there it has resided ever since.

My philosophy today was, "If I haven't even looked at this stuff in all these years, I have no need to hold onto it now."

I've been surprised by the amount of stuff I have, because--except for books--I don't really buy a lot. I rarely shop. I don't salivate over material goods. But I'm realizing that I have a lot of stuff not because I buy frequently, but because almost everything that has come into this house over the years has stayed here. I rarely got rid of anything.

Letting go of all this stuff now is alternately freeing and anxiety-producing. I think that one reason we stockpile things and cling to them is out of a fear of scarcity, a fear that our needs won't be met, that we won't have enough. I'm speaking here of emotional needs too, not just material ones.

After weeding bagsful from my closet, I have been rejoicing in its cleaner, less cluttered appearance. There seems to be more breathing room. Some items were really a delight to shed: items I wasn't wearing anymore, but felt guilty for not wearing because they were still in good shape. And even though I felt some pangs of anxiety about the volume of material I was eliminating, I also marveled at how much I have left. When I arranged my clothes so that I could see all of them, and I took stock of what I actually have, I realized that I have plenty. I have enough.

6 comments:

  1. For me, I think the anxiety is all about the actual act of getting rid. I can't think of a time when I've truly missed something once I've cleared it away. Enjoy the space and freedom!

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    1. That's true, isn't it? Letting go of some things is harder before than after.

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  2. I'm in the middle of cleaning out a number of spaces in my house too.I hear what you mean about not wanting to get rid of something for fear of not having enough...perhaps when you need that item. Sometimes my husband and I take pictures of things or we scan them before we toss them, so we have a digital record of having owned them, if something does come up.

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    1. I'm trying to ditch the "just in case" items that I've never had the occasion to touch for years.

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  3. I was hoping to clean out my office this vacation, but I didn't get to it! I love to clean things out and donate them to people who might need them. I don't buy a lot either- but somehow we end up collecting things that come our way. I am glad you are finding your cleaning out to be so freeing. What a great way to start the year. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. I'll be lucky to be done by the 4th of July! But the progress I've made is definitely freeing. :)

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