We work from the time we’re old enough to make money to buy stuff. Actually, it’s true that there’s a lot of good stuff out there like collectibles, beautiful crystal, all of the issues of Oprah Magazine from Day one, clothes, furniture, decorations, and shoes (my special weakness). This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stuff. Then one day when we’re older, our desire to have things turns into the need and desire to purge and to work on letting go of the extras in your life.
This feeling washes over us when it’s time to move and we have to decide if we really need everything we have acquired over time. The feeling can also come when we realize we can not fit one more item into our overcrowded home and we have to rent a storage unit. (I refuse) Sometimes the feeling hits when we simply realize that we just don’t need all of these possessions.
For me, the feeling came when I moved the last time. The move was from Denver, CO back to my hometown in Beaver Dam, WI. I had boxes in the basement full of junk that I had moved to Denver eight and a half years before. I’ve never considered myself a hoarder. I simply attach too much importance to things that I need to let go of. If there is a happy memory attached to something, I find it impossible to let that thing go. This might be a beautiful dress (see pictures of the perfect dress), an expensive pair of shoes, a collectible that has sentimental value, or artwork my thirty-one-year-old son completed in 4th grade. I even found all of my grade school through high school report cards. At the age of 70, I don’t think I’ll have a need for any of these things.
I also have an unhealthy attachment to books of all kinds. From Wuthering Heights and Rebecca to The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, if I bought it, I still own it. I love the way books feel, smell, and look in bookshelves. We donated dozens of boxes of books to used book stores and the library before we left Denver. Truthfully, it didn’t make a dent.
When we decided to start packing for our move, my husband and I rented a 42-foot dumpster. We filled it to the brim. People would come to our front door and ask permission to dumpster dive. I always said yes. We filled the dumpster a second time. Of course, I wondered if we had thrown away any treasures. I had to let it go. I did notice that my 150+ issues of Oprah Magazine dating back to April 17, 2000, remained in the dumpster. So, if the divers didn’t value them, I guess I didn’t need to either.
We’ve been in our Beaver Dam home now for a little over 6 years. I still have about 20 boxes in the basement to go through and purge. I also have files in my home office that go back far longer than I need to keep. There are clothes in my active closet that I haven’t worn in way too long. So, I still have a few purging projects to do. I’ve actually canceled most of my magazine subscriptions so that I’m not tempted to hang on to them. I believe when my “letting go” projects are complete, I will feel lighter. I’m looking forward to that day.
Note: This post was originally written on March 12, 2020. Now with the new “Safer at Home provisions”, I have a perfect time to get to work and complete my “letting go projects”. Stay well, everyone!