When I woke up I realized my possessions were gone, all the cute little knickknacks I had collected for years, my loved books and comfy furniture, all evaporated overnight and were now existing only in my memories, I felt empty and cold and I couldn’t shake the feeling for several years.
That is what happens, among other things, when our lives change: material objects do not go with us all the way into the new realm of our new life. And memory brings them back, in a painful way when the separation is not done properly.
There are dozens of reasons why it is great to minimize the amount
of possessions we surround ourselves with. Among others: how much the quality
of time changes for us. When we own too many things, those things actually own
us. We have to take care of them, clean them, fix them.
On the contrary, if those things don’t exist, we have more time in our hands to occupy ourselves in more interesting activities than removing dust from all those little crystal and porcelain figurines or old books we are not going to even read again.
Another advantage of decluttering is how our mental focus improves. If we are worried about how much dust is to be dusted off, we barely think of that task and little else. But, if we don’t need to dust, our attention is redirected into more creative and rewarding projects, our focus starts getting wider and wider and we start experiencing the relief of not being owned by objects.
There are a lot of other great reasons why it is great for us to declutter and maybe even transition into minimalism and there is an enormous number of great articles about those advantages out there.
But the one thing that is barely mentioned is the process
itself and how important is to become aware of the goal before attempting to
get rid of things.
If you are dreaming about a life of RVing the process is easily understood, you just don’t buy things you won’t need in a motorhome. The same happens if you are planning to move into a loft and you want to surround yourself with modern and tech décor, the crystal and porcelain owl collection is not going to fit or make sense anywhere and you will give it back to grandma. Easy.
But how do we tackle the separation anxiety that overcomes us when we decide we need to get rid of our possessions just for the sake of a more interesting life? If we don’t do it properly, we just won’t part ways with anything, we will procrastinate, and we will keep buying accessories and decorative pillows.
So, let’s plan for the process and enjoy every stage of it so we do not suffer, and we can get much better at it as we make progress reducing the piles of things we own.
My favorite plan is to gather two or three bags and decide a destination name for each: “Donation” “Recycling” and “Money Maker”
Every day we will put something in one or each of the bags. A sweater we never wear because it itches, those earrings that are too heavy or that hideous painting we inherited from aunt Mildred, the one with the crossed eyed cat. They can all go and find a new home!
Books are very difficult to let go, they tend to sneak on our feelings, we are going to put only one out for donation or garage sale in the beginning. When that one is gone, we will donate the next one. One at a time.
It seems like it is going to take forever but it’s not. Because when we realize we are still whole and we didn’t suffer that much by letting some possessions go, we start getting more proactive at filling up those bags and changing our views about an emptier home. It starts getting easier to clean, it starts looking nicer and roomier.
There is only one warning here: we can’t go and buy anything new unless we get rid of two things in exchange. It is only fair if we want to remain consistent and if it is a rule, it will help us keep our promise to ourselves.
A great looking space and a lot of free time will be our reward. And the pride that comes with the new lifestyle!