Lessons about Stuff

The idea of placing your whole life into a suitcase is weird. All of your memories, experiences, clothing, sentimental items….in the same little place. My whole life, I never traveled much. Yet here I am, 12 days away from living in I T A L Y. I have been preparing myself by continually tossing things I didn’t need any more; old clothes, old makeup, papers from a class I took 2 years ago….

Long story short, I made a lot of donations to my local Good Will this year.

The process of tossing things out and detaching myself from physical objects got me thinking about the value we place on out “stuff” and how it can affect us. I wanted to share what I have observed so far, so we can all take a few moments to reflect on how our own “stuff” is affecting us:

| We love stuff |

Have you ever moved? Chances are, you have. And it is during that time when you realize just how much stuff you have accumulated during your short life. It brings us comfort, holds memories, and clutters our lives; for better and for worse. 

| Allowing physical items to bring us comfort distracts from sustainable happiness|

Physical things can surround us and make us feel as though our lives are full just because our closet is. In reality your closet is probably full of shirts you haven’t worn in 3 years and dresses you feel less than your best in. Surrounding ourselves with stuff does not substitute for the things that bring us lasting happiness: love and support from friends and family members, self-confidence, self-love, and hobbies that make us feel full.

| Our belongings often represent us |

I once heard a great piece of advice, telling me if I was unsure about how to decorate my home, I should look in my closet. If I had a closet full of neutrals, bold accent colors, or hip clothing that I liked enough to wear on my body every day, I would likely be happy with that same style reflected in my home. Our stuff reflects who we are.

| It isn’t that easy to let go, and that is okay |

You are going to come across a pair of old socks that are crusty and threadbare but you wore them on your favorite hike so you could never part with them. Or maybe you’ll find a crumpled up movie ticket you got from your favorite date, but if you toss it maybe the date wouldn’t mean as much. You can imagine how easy it is to hold onto things we don’t truly need. Sentimental attachment to our things is what makes it so hard to live a minimalistic life. Simply taking the time to recognize this, can make letting go of unnecessary things easier. Maybe you honor the item one last time, you take a picture and toss the item, or limit yourself to a small box of sentimental items. 



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