This blog isn't about writing, but it is about a book I've been reading call The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
I'm guilty of hanging onto things way past their expiration date, or their usefulness. I was raised by a mother who was the daughter of those who experienced The Great Depression. She is the product of her parents experiences and instilled that same notion of Waist not, want not in me.
In the past, I was guilty of holding onto things I hadn't used for years and years and years. The same was true of clothing. I've ridden the rollercoaster of weight management my entire life. Especially, after having three children. I'd hang onto clothing items for the day I would fit into them again. Or sometimes it was simply because I didn't want to waste the money I'd spent on the item.
Over the years I'd moved away from hanging on to every little thing, because I may or may not use it eventually. I adopted the rule that if I hadn't used it or worn it in six month to a year, then it either went to someone else or I donated it.
A few years ago, I thought I was doing pretty good. But, eventually, things would begin to pile up again. My sister-in-law mentioned Marie Kondo's book to me last year, so I picked it up. I read through most of it and it made good sense. Her concept is simple. If an item doesn't spark joy, then it's time to say goodbye.
It sounds easier than it is. I went through this process, first with my mother and father. They were moving across country to be closer to my brothers and his young family, so they sold all of their furniture and much of their belongings. Some things they let go of were things they'd had for many, many years.
Watching my mother go through this difficult process made me realize that we hold onto physical items for many emotional reasons. Sure, some items are understandable, like Grandma's tea pot, or certain jewelry because of its emotional or financial value. But how many of those items do you need to remind you of that person?
What my mother began to realize is that so many things she was holding onto, were not items that her children would want once she was gone. These items didn't hold the same sentimental of monetary value for us, that they did for her. In her parents day, items were more scarce and therefore more valuable. Furniture was built to last generations, dishes were passed down to daughters and then their daughters. The times have changed and so has the idea of perceived value.
Don't get me wrong. I don't believe in wast any more than the next person. At that, I feel that one of the things for me that needed to change was my habits as a consumer. Instead of buying something on the spur of the moment or impulse shopping, I'm trying to be a more discerning shopper. The first and most important question I ask myself, is do I really need this?
And yes, once in a while it's okay to buy something just because you want it, and can afford it. I just give it more serious thought and often decide that I didn't really want it as badly as I thought I did. I'm trying to teach my kids this as well, especially in a society that pushes having the latest and greatest of everything. My oldest gets it most of the time, the other two will take some work. haha
In the end, all that really remains is the memory of our relationships and how we touched others. Moving forward, my husband and I have decided that we want to simplify as we go on in this journey together, staring with downsizing our home and managing with one car between the two of us. Fortunately, that works for us, since I work from home. We've also begun the process of trimming down our junk and believe me, it's a process. But, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Less stuff, means more freedom for us. Less house, means less to clean for me. Win, win.
I don't want to leave this life with a collection of things that my children will have to sort through and sell off. I want to leave loving memories and strong relationships. We can't take it with us, and Heaven must have a weight limit, because why else would we have to leave our bodies behind. *wink, wink*
Do you hold onto STUFF? Have you read Marie Kondo's book or watched her show on TV? Let me know your thoughts and feelings regarding this post.