March 12, 2018

Letting Go of Excess

Recently I have been on a tear. I find myself pining for spring big time this year and it is making me rethink the habits I seem to have in regard to acquiring stuff. My basement is a sea of good intentions  – baskets I was sure would solve the scattered tendencies of my family; furnishings that no longer fit their intended use; pillows I no longer love. It has been making me feel suffocated. After hearing about Swedish Death Cleaning (really, it’s a thing) and feeling inspired by this post, I have decided that enough is enough.

During these last snow days I got out the gigantic contractor’s garbage bags, steeled my courage and began what is certain to be a lengthy process. I began letting go of stuff.

The hardest part for me is passing along things I still like but are no longer right for my lifestyle. Camping equipment from high school? That person is no longer who I am and frankly, should I take it up again, I’m sure there is more efficient stuff on the market these days. Old playroom shelving? My kids have evolved in their play and no longer need the amount of storage they once did. Pillows that were great in a place I no longer live? They might be perfect for someone else’s space. It’s time to let go.

Once you determine what you are letting go of it is important to have a plan to get it out of your house. Immediately. My go-to tactic is to schedule a haul away with the Vets. You can set it up online and you don’t have to be home during the pick up window so I find it to be the most convenient. Of course, you can always load up your car and head to your nearest Goodwill drop off center. For those with endless patience and energy, you can sell the good stuff on Craig’sList, at a local consignment store or through your local Facebook group. And, of course, there is always Freecycle.

In the back of my mind there is always a little voice whispering to me “What if this comes back into style?” “What if the kids decide they want to play with this toy they have clearly outgrown?” “I spent a fortune on this!” The truth is, I have rarely, if ever, regretted purging. Often times, once something is out of my basement, I forget it has ever existed which makes me feel like a terrible consumer. After this exercise I have vowed to be a more conscious consumer – look before I leap, think before I spend. Oakview is the home I plan on living in for the long haul and it isn’t getting any bigger. There is no reason to have heaps of things in the basement, no matter how beautifully they are stored. If something isn’t useful to me in my life right now chances are I don’t need it. So out it goes.

What is your philosophy on storing excess stuff? Are you a saver for “someday” or are you a ruthless purger? I’m working on a healthier relationship with the things I bring into my house and letting the guilt go when passing things along. The money has already been spent… it’s time to let it go.

In the mood to read more? Check out these related posts: The Coveted Basement Playroom; Needing Productivity… Even in Winter; Design Essentials: Simple Peg Hooks; On Collecting