I’m a big fan of organizing. Although my approach now is different than it used to be, I still enjoy the idea of “everything with a place, and everything in its place.”
There is also a certain attraction to the tools of the trade. I love all the different containers and means of sorting things. There seems to be a container for everything. So when did this need to have stuff and then to ensure it is all organized come from?
I am starting to realize the difficulty in this approach. There seems to be three principles that I’m struggling to reconcile. It seems a bit like an addiction but I can’t sort out why that would be the case.
The first issue is that over the years, I have collected a great deal of stuff. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the need to define my existence in terms of what I own. I also work with some folks that define themselves in that way. As I accumulated things, I needed to store things.
I learned early on that if you don’t own a big home (and our home would be considered small by some standards), you don’t find you can keep a great deal of stuff. I’ve always had to pare down my possessions somewhat. Yet, I still have managed to keep quite a bit. My husband is even more of a collector.
The first thing that needed to be reconciled was how much could I could eliminate. Sometimes it is hard to part with things. I likely spent good money on it at the time. However, if it is no longer of service, I should let it go.
I find that sometimes I have an emotional attachment to things. Some of the stuff in my life makes me happy. Realistically though most of it doesn’t. I have heard it said many times that objects have no intrinsic value, it is only the value we instill in the object.
Once I’ve pared down a few things, I start to see what is left. Is the object what it seems? Have I instill in the object value that it is no longer has?
My husband has often accused me of not being very sentimental. He’s right. I don’t put a great deal of emotion into most things. At one point, I wanted to donate my high school jacket. He was really upset with me because he felt it was important to hold on to those mementos of my youth. I can barely remember high school and it doesn’t hold much sentimental value for me. Yes, it was a time in my life, an important time, but I’ve moved on.
The third principle to reconcile is my determination to use less and buy less. I am starting to understand in many ways how important my purchasing decisions are in this world. There are impacts that I can’t even imagine such as the pollution, the contribution to inequities in developing countries, and then how to discard the item in a responsible way instead of in a landfill.
The bonus to my attempt to reduce stuff is that I’m starting to feel more open space in my home. I don’t have same level of clutter. It just feels better. Is this what is meant by minimalism? or simplicity? I’m not sure I know the right label, but at this moment, it feels right. Maybe this will be my new addiction.
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