Most years that means that we rearrange the furniture, I clean all of the windows in the house at once (the only time per year that that happens), and we tell ourselves that we will not let the house get messy from that point on. It lasts a few days and then the coupon flyers pile up with the bulk packs of toilet paper and the jackets that keep slipping off the wall hooks and suddenly it’s summer and who cares what the house looks like anyway.
This year is different.
I am a collector. I wouldn’t say hoarder because I actually donate to thrift stores in heavy generous waves, but I do cling to certain categories of things. Baby clothes, for example. Books. Magazines I haven’t read. Cosmetic samples. Every piece of my childhood ever.
I can’t even explain to you how much stuff we have in storage because it’s embarrassing. I’m embarrassed both that we have so much stuff and that we have yet to achieve that brass ring of adulthood: the large house in which to put all of the crap. Even in my embarrassed state, I have to admit that living in our little cottage is probably a blessing in disguise, since I would have filled a six bedroom three bathroom house from basement to attic with carefully labeled boxes of junk.
As it is, the majority of our stuff has been living at my parent’s house. More specifically, in my parents basement. Once a year, we’ve fussed around and tidied up but ultimately there just isn’t a place to put anything so we rearrange it and repackage and restack it and put it back.
What is this stuff, you might wonder? It’s a combo. Lots of home decor that we have no room for. Lots of gifts or blog perks that I didn’t need at the time. Lots of toys the kids outgrew (waiting for new kids) or toys that I outgrew (waiting for my kids). Some photos. Some clothes. A million teddy bears. You know…stuff.
I’ve held onto it because it represented the kind of house I wish we had or because I really love the person who gave it to me or because I know how much it’s worth and I’m sure I’ll need/use it someday.
Blah. It’s smothering. It’s uncomfortable. It’s not healthy.
My goal is to get all of our things (save a few boxes of holiday decorations and one box each of keepsakes) out of storage. We’ll incorporate things that we want to keep into our home and we’ll get rid of the others through donations or hand-me-downs or garage sales. Even the good stuff.
We’ve done a few rounds already and I thought it would be painful, but instead I’ve been (darkly) amused at how free I feel every time another bag of broken Barbie heads goes into the trash. Bye bye, stuff. You’re no longer needed.
It’s actually made me realize just how many things I’ve been hanging onto, like ideas for projects I thought I’d work on, regrets about conversations that happened a decade ago, or even ideas about this better version of a parent that I thought I’d be by now. All of that stuff had a purpose at some point in my life, but now it’s just weighing me down for no reason.
So, I try to pick one thing in the morning when I run and I really let myself dwell on it for the first mile or so, because I know that by the time I get back home I need to let it go and not pick it up again. No joke, I swear I’m losing weight faster ever since I started doing this, like I’m actually luring those thoughts out of the house and outrunning them so they can’t come back.
“In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?”
― Gautama Buddha
Pin this post for later: