Saturday, October 17, 2009

Owned by Stuff!

Part 1
Do you own your stuff or does it own you? I had to reevaluate this recently and am still working on it. To me this is troubling. Abundance needs to be directional and thought out or else one truly can drown in or be buried by their abundance of stuff
* Am I rich and encumbered by oodles and caboodles of money or valuable equipment, furnishings or paraphernalia ? No!
* But, I have treasures!! (that to anyone else could be classified as JUNK)
* I am a slave to my accumulated stuff. I am held captive by years and years of collected memorabilia, favorite comfy clothes, nic-naks and padi-waks – all in boxes!
It’s nothing new – I mean, I’ve known it for a long time but every so often, like today, I am reminded: I am owned by my ’stuff’! You see, I needed a cat carrier and I knew it was in the back of my storage closet and all these boxes had to come out so I could get to it …. yuck!
How did it come to this? Did aliens drop it off as they passed over our house? Did fairies come whilst I slept and sprinkle junkee dust through my attic and in my closets and in the ’storage shed’? I know, maybe YOU brought it over when my back was turned and tucked it in using the convenient camouflage of the familiar.

What exactly do I mean by ‘owned by my stuff’? Well, I make decisions based on this stuff … even though it’s inanimate and most likely of no monetary value, I spend money, or space, or time on this stuff. Major decisions in life sometimes center around the stuff a person has – like a bigger house because, dadgum, where we gonna put all our stuff?!? Sadly, I could probably get by just fine without most of it – many boxes haven’t been opened for years.  Oh dear, oh me, oh my! What’s a girl to do?

Well, in our family, I have decisions to make concerning all this wonderful, beautiful stuff. It goes one of 4 places -
… the YARD SALE,
… the DUMP,
… our NEW HOME or once again
… into STORAGE …
What? did I really say that? No way! Reality check. I know, some of it will NOT be thrown or sold – it’s too precious. It’s US. It’s ME. It’s WONDERFUL!

Why do we have this stuff that we insist on storing?

Well, I reckon, in some form or fashion this accumulated stuff represents who we are – our family – it’s who we are, what we’re made of. Each of us have different stuff. I mean, it may be letters, yearbooks, souvenirs, clothing, little pretties, but mine is different than yours and when I look back through it I see the years of my life; of our life as a family. It’s actually pretty cool – reading letters from old girlfriends, seeing photos from other couples who were newlyweds when we were all young; holding the toys the kids played with 10, 15 or even 20 years ago, touching the dress I wore on our wedding day … it’s like a physical connection with days gone by and the memories become fresh because of what I am holding or reading … precious memories.

This past spring we emptied out a house we’d lived in for 7 years – I spent 2+ weeks just going through the attic that held stuff. Dear Husband helped me with some … we both lamented over the needless accumulation but also, we laughed and shared so many precious memories as we opened box after box and made those decisions.

I did make 5 trips to the city dump and didn’t even cringe or look back in regret … I do believe I am making progress in this emotional tie to my stuff!  We also made 5- 6 trips to the Kidney Foundation’s Thrift Store … OR an alternatives for some may be the Goodwill Store, or a Women’s Shelter, a Church Closet … just GIVE what you can, when you can but, remember, don’t give trash … that is for the dump! Even then, use wisdom and recycle when possible – that is the sort of city dump we chose.

Which brings me to our now … Another of our ‘Beginnings’ is around the corner. Since our big move last spring, the road map of our life has changed again and we’ll be cutting back even more … on the stuff I went through today … where did it all come from? How about you? Are you owned by your stuff?
If you are going to experience a MOVE soon, be sure and visit FlyLady for some wonderful tips and advice! And also, here’s a great book to consider reading before you are forced to make a decision about all your stuff. In fact, over at YOUR NINTH HOUR you can see some other resources on Stuff and Clutter … have a good week-end  – with all your stuff!

922630: 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter By Emilie Barnes
Better than a how-to television show, this compact resource written by home management expert Emilie Barnes, can help you transform your home, church, or office into a clutter-free zone. With 101 tips to choose from, you’ll soon be on your way to ridding your rooms of piles, stacks, and disarray. Paperback.

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