I often find myself getting irritated when other people misplace my stuff. Mondays are the worst because my helper comes in on that day and she tends to place stuff in the nearest hidey hole. My boyfriend also pointed out to me that I am so protective of my stuff. Naturally I was very defensive but he was right. At the end of the day it is just stuff. Why do I cling to it so? Why do I let it rule my life so? It takes up so much space mentally, physically and emotionally. Why do I let the things I own, own me? How do I stop it?
Part historic/Part Genetic
If I think back, as a kid I always felt like I never had enough of the “nice” things. I had to wear my sister’s hand-me-downs mostly although I did get new clothes every now and then. It’s hard to develop your style when all that’s available to you is someone else’s style choices and the two of you are like chalk and cheese style wise. 🤦🏽♀️. When I was in high school, I tried my hand at sewing my own clothes. I sucked at it so I had to give up. 😂 As a result, once I was working, I could not stop clothes and shoe shopping. I treasured every item. I would be crushed when an item was damaged.
Seems my sisters and I inherited a hording gene from my mum as well. 😜. Thankfully, living is a smaller place has turned out be a blessing in disguise as I have had to get rid of a lot of my stuff when I moved in. There is definitely more that needs to go but at least I have made progress. I have to admit, although it was not easy to part with some of it, I definitely felt lighter emotionally and mentally when I was done. It’s easy to get caught up in believing that you need the stuff that you choose to surround yourself with. In my case, it gave me a sense of control of my life, a sense of comfort and a sense of security. Quite ironic for a self-confessed committment phobe. I actually committed to a lot of unnecessary stuff. 😜
Making the change
Let me start by saying that I have not reached the end goal yet of a minimalist lifestyle but I have definitely started the journey and it is quite a ride. One of things that prompted the start of the journey was the death of my mum. She saved so much and fought us tooth and nail when we wanted to clear out some of the clutter. Packing up the household contents was both a nostalgic journey as well as a hard lesson about the futility of hoarding. We are probably all guilty of holding onto items given to us by family and dear friends and I can understand why, but, if we are honest with ourselves, there is no good reason for keeping stuff “just in case”. As I am writing this, I am actually just looking at the shelves in my wardrobe which are an absolute mess and am having a good chuckle. I clearly still have a very very long way to go. The worst part is getting frustrated when things fall on my toes because the shelves are so stuffed with things that I never use it but never doing anything about it. 🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️ Guess what I will be doing tonight…
One of the ways I also prompt myself to declutter is to put a monetary value on the stuff that is just taking up space in my world. I try to think of it as capital that I can invest in my future. I often try and think of purchases in this way as well. What job am I hiring this item for in my life? Will it become a white elephant or is it going to add value emotionally, physically or financially to mine, or my son’s life, or allow me to bring value to someone else’s life? And yes, sometimes life is too short and I buy something because I like it and I want it and because, at the end of the day, life is for the living.😜
Lastly, another reason I will continue this journey and live more of a minimalist lifestyle is because I don’t want to be controlled by my goods anymore. It’s not fun. It weighs me down and adds no value to my life in any way. It makes me fall into the trap of being judgmental of myself and others because of what they do and don’t have. How sad is that? The Jones’s are welcome to their stuff. I am no longer about that life. I will not lie to myself, I will always keep a few pieces that are dear to me near and serve no other purpose. I am making space for things that matter like love, experiences, living my purpose and being the best mother I know how to be. I will no longer be owned by my things.
Thank you for reading. I would love to hear about your journey of taking back control after a life of consumerism and keeping up with the Jones’s. Let me know in the comments.