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The Story of My Stuff July 10, 2012

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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“The things you own end up owning you” – Fight Club

I like to think that I don’t own that many possessions, or that I am not very materialistic and don’t get attached to “things.” For the past two years I have tried my best to either delay buying certain items until I was finished another move, or to not buy items altogether.

Well, I started packing my things in preparation for another big move, and found out—surprise, surprise—I do have a lot of possessions. This realization was a bit of a shock to me, maybe because it showed how much the trait of ‘anti-materialist’ had become part of my identity, or how I saw myself as a person.

The moving process took an entire week altogether. It was a very laborious, sweaty, and at times stressful week for me, because I had a deadline when I had to be done. By the time I was getting closer to the end of the moving process, the phrase I quoted at the start of this article started to come to mind.

As much as I didn’t want to admit it, apparently the things I owned had started to own me. I was spending a great deal of time organizing, arranging, and planning moving my possessions not to mention the mental energy and effort keeping the whole process under control.

During that week there were so many things I wanted to do instead of moving (go outside for a walk, go pick wild berries, visit friends, go to music shows, go to meditation groups, go to a pow-wow, the list goes on), but instead I was confined to my hot, sweaty, non-air-conditioned apartment for much of the day, fitting things into cardboard boxes.

When I realized just how many items I was trying to pack into boxes and move back to the west, I decided I had had enough. This was ridiculous. I went through a frenzied process of throwing out a lot of items I had kept after considering whether I really wanted them or not. Turns out I didn’t want them that bad. I knew I was doing the right thing because I felt free and lighter after getting rid of the items.

Goodbye.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

I don’t care.

I don’t have to think about you any more.

Get lost.

A few days later, my boxes arrived at my parents’ home, and suddenly I was stuck with the task of fitting the boxes into storage in my bedroom. My parents’ home is a trailer, so my bedroom is one of the smallest rooms I have ever seen. So I had to get rid of some old items that were being stored in my bedroom in order to move the new items in.

By this time I had been doing the process of purging and de-cluttering for a few weeks already. At the start, the decision to get rid of something was painfully slow, as I deliberately made a mental decision whether to keep it or junk it, weighing the pros and cons.

By the end, the drawn-out mental process had become an easily-identifiable feeling upon looking at an item:

I feel heavy, burdened, and/ or irritated = I get rid of it. I don’t really want it in reality. (Or the only reason I am keeping it is because someone gave it to me and I don’t want them to think I got rid of it. If they truly love me, then they wouldn’t want me to be burdened by something they gave me, so I still get rid of it.)

I feel energized, or excited, or have longing for it = Its a keeper, its something truly valuable.

I noticed these feelings coming up as I unpacked my boxes from the move. The feelings were similar to “Why did I bring this back?” or “Oh, its so great that I still have that!” Clearly, there were a few items I still should have ditched that I didn’t.

The moving process was a real awakening for me.

I realized just how much stuff I do own.

I learned how to identify the feeling of being burdened by an unused item.

I saw how I keep things that aren’t truly of value to me.

I saw how easy it is to shove possessions away into storage and forget about them for years.

I saw how easily and quickly my collecting items that never get used can get out of hand (“I might use this…one day…maybe…”).

On a lighter note, I realized the joy of giving unused or no longer wanted items to friends who would use and appreciate them.

Maybe these lessons and insights will stay with me a while as I continue to be tempted with buying or collecting new things to bring into my home, as is inevitable in a materialistic, consumer culture. Maybe they won’t stay with me. Maybe I will just have to keep re-learning these lessons all over again…

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Comments»

1. Brittany - July 11, 2012

What a refreshing blog to read in a materialistic society. One of my goals this summer is to de-clutter my life also.

Living Abundance - July 11, 2012

Thanks, Brittany, glad you enjoyed it. Best of luck on your de-cluttering goals, hope it makes you feel lighter!


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