You Can Gain So Much by Letting Go

woman spreading arms towards the sunset

I have a few previous posts about my struggle with stuff.

While I still have too much of it, I have been on a huge downsizing kick lately.

Purging, organizing, donating, throwing away, and generally just deciding I don’t need most of what I have!

This is coming from a person who has consistently had a small house with lots of stuff for most of my life. I used to constantly wish I had a bigger house, more storage, more room and just MORE. It was a constant desire and difficult to feel satisfied with that type of attitude.

I was often at garage sales, thrift stores or regular stores (usually in the “clearance” section) scanning the items for things I just couldn’t live without. Many times I would come home with a car full of clothes, decorative storage containers, craft supplies, books and other such objects. Usually I would get home and unload everything to a temporary location, with a plan to “put things away” soon. Yeah, you guessed it, before “soon” happened, I was usually out shopping for more things to buy and never put away.

I was like this for many years, and now that I am looking back, I remember always having the attitude of “someday.” As in, “someday” I will wear this lovely outfit, or “someday” I will sit down with this how-to book and learn how to (insert activity here.)

I was content waiting for someday to happen and meanwhile buying heaps of things to do, wear, use, learn or try when that day finally came. I was constantly rearranging, trying to find the ideal arrangement to make it seem like I had less stuff and more space.

Of course it didn’t work, but somewhere along the line, I realized that a lot of my clutter was actually storage boxes, bins and baskets that I’d gotten to contain the clutter!!! Perhaps that was one of the first eye opening moments….

After the previous epiphany, I continued to try and unclutter my clutter, but it was all for naught.  Somewhere along the line I just decided I didn’t want to spend all my time rearranging and trying to find places for all my stuff. I can’t put my finger on exactly when I started to have a different focus, but I do know that this feeling of wanting less is very liberating.

Once I started deciding I wasn’t ever going to do, wear, use, learn or try certain things, I gathered those items up and donated them back to the thrift store. Bags and boxes of clothes and books were removed, rendering my previously packed closets and storage areas half empty. Once I started, I was like a snowball rolling down a steep hill, gathering momentum. I was filling donation bags up and dropping them off every week. I was no longer the person who had bought all of that STUFF and I had no idea what she’d been thinking. The more I got rid of, the more I wanted to get rid of!

I’m still in the process of downsizing. I have come a long way, but have a long way to go until I am where I want to be. I still go to thrift stores, garage sales and clearance racks sometimes, but most of the time I don’t buy anything. Instead I come home and go through another drawer, box or shelf and see what else I might not need anymore. I enjoy the growing empty space in my rooms and the bare flat surfaces where clutter used to live.

Yes, I’m still in the process but as I gain more time from not having to rearrange all the time, I find that I am thinking about writing more. I have renewed interest in starting a garden, and the urge to be artistic and create something is coming back. It seems like there are lots of possibilities. I feel much more open to doing things than I did when there was so much clutter everywhere. The sense of overwhelm and almost helplessness is gone. I’m positive that I will continue on this path and eventually have the minimalist, simple lifestyle I have been craving. It is empowering.

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