It’s getting easier to let go. It’s yet another of the benefits of aging I remind myself of constantly. I have fewer fears about letting go of the past. The present is all I have (all any one of us has) anyway, and the things I want to remember about the past, are not bound to any clothes or furnishings. I enjoy more space and fewer things in my 60’s. It feels peaceful.While I have experimented with every known method for releasing my possessions – selling on eBay or Poshmark, consigning, and mailing big bags to Thredup – I’ve found that giving them away feels the best. I have a few local charity shops whose causes I support. I’ve heard about, but haven’t yet tried Freecycle, a grassroots network of people reusing and keeping “good stuff out of landfills.”
If a piece no longer gives me joy or makes me smile, I know it has a chance to do that for someone else, and
Things I had owned, used — things that had been a part of me — now have a second lease on life.
“There is no question that the continuous acquisition of stuff is the backbone of American culture. . . . . Seventy percent of home-owning Americans cannot park cars in their garages because there’s too much stuff; one in 10 has a storage unit.” –source
Those stats are amazing. And they take into account that the size of the average American home has grown from 1,660 square feet in the 1970’s to 2,687 square feet now.
I take a gentle, easy approach to streamlining my possessions. I might put a jacket that’s “on the fence” in the front of my closet for a week before I donate it. Maybe I’ll fall in love again. I’m not a fan of explosive clean-outs; I need some time to ponder. And all things coming into the home are similarly considered, except for cat food and chocolate.
There are still moments of uncertainty: I am guilty of exaggerating or at least over-emphasizing the future value and usefulness of an item. If it’s so valuable, why is it sitting in my closet, hmmmm?
There’s so much “stuff” in the world, we could get buried, even in my small condo. We have two televisions for just two people, never mind the computing devices. And there is no “scarcity” here! Bonus of letting go: fewer things around me means less cleaning (I can get compulsive about that).
And of course, there’s the morbid reality that as the End of the Game gets near, someone is going to have to go through all my sh!t when I’m gone. Why not spare them the chore? Who wants to sort through my 25 pairs of tights?
As always, this is not advice directed at my readers. You’ll do things the way that makes the most sense for you. Some of you find joy in collecting beautiful things, that’s lovely too. Since I am naturally curious, I’d love to know: what kind, if any, of de-clutterer are you?
Keep joy in your heart, and stay fabulous, xo,
Here’s some cool classics that will stand the test of time:
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