I was talking with a friend the other day about stuff. All the things that we collect and ferret away into boxes and attics, basements and storage facilities. If your town is anything like mine, you will have noticed the proliferation of ‘self-storage’ facilities. What in the world do we need all this stuff for? I know people who have paid thousands of dollars to keep a washer and dryer (worth maybe $500) in storage. This is the invisible cost of our inability to let go. I am as guilty as the next person of the odd obsession of not letting anything go. For me, it’s the common fear of “What if I need this?” overlaid with “I’m going to get back to that soon.” When I am looking around at my ever-expanding collection of stuff, it becomes apparent very quickly how stressful it is. My stuff represents, in many ways, my inability to bring closure to phases of my life, my refusal to admit that I will never ‘get back to that.’ So, I have boxes that have been moved to multiple homes and never opened or unpacked, yet, there they are, taunting me with their existence. We identify with our things which is, in my opinion, a big emotional mistake. Things break, wear out, get lost, and lose that initial shine, so when we identify with them, we see the decline of those objects as a decline of the self.
‘Things’ may represent what we do but should not represent who we are.
The other side of this idea is there are people in dire need who might use our stored, boxed, and forgotten items. Clothes we have not worn in years, that old set of pots, pans, and dishes tucked neatly away could be the lifeline for a family in need. Think of a rule that works for you such as, ‘If I haven’t touched/seen it in X years it is no longer of value to my family and me.’
Let it go! Donate it, sell it, unload the baggage taking up space in your attic and your mind. This process has multiple benefits to someone in need, to the environment, (no need to manufacture more stuff) monetary savings, clearing space in your home and potentially your mind as well.