I am giving my stuff away. Not all of it. But a lot of it. Wondering why?
I moved to the UK almost 20 years ago. Not only was I 20 years younger with a lot to learn, but I came from a place where having lots of things and space to store them wasn’t an issue.
Not only did I bring lots of my stuff with me, but I inflicted my purchasing-mania on my then-boyfriend-now-husband. So many new shops beckoned me with shiny, glittering new objects that I hadn’t seen before. I bought more stuff. Stuff that would allow me to host dinner parties for 16 with enough table-ware to accommodate all of them. And I wondered, why-oh-why didn’t the UK have The Container Store to help me organize all my stuff.
Organizing wasn’t the thing
Because at that stage, it was a question of organizing. Of course I could accommodate all that stuff. I just needed a plan to organize it. I turned to Martha Stewart for help. Pinterest came online and I searched feverishly for Organization Ideas. I had multiple boards dedicated to it. I found a fabulous website called IHeartOrganizing and became an acolyte of Jen, the organizing guru who would help me sort out all my board games and tv remotes with cute little baskets that slid into IKEA furniture.
British Houses weren’t the thing
But even the organizing couldn’t save me. So I started to rail against British housing. The houses were too small. The room dimensions were ridiculously proportioned (Actually, new development homes are ridiculously proportioned but that’s another post for another time!). Then along came Minnie-Sue with all the associated stuff of a baby and then child. As we needed to accommodate her stuff, I wondered how in the world our house would fit US in it, let alone all our stuff! My mood went sour and I found fault with British living in general.
I am giving my stuff away. what does a meaningful life look like?
This feeling persisted more or less until about a year or so ago. Until I stumbled upon an article by a couple of American guys who called themselves The Minimalists and I read their story. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what particularly resonated so strongly with me but I do credit them with really kick-starting an awakening in me. This awakening led me to a transformation. I began to think hard about the reasons that I felt compelled to be accumulating material items. A lot of it had to do with emulating a lifestyle that didn’t really ring authentic with me anymore. I realised that I actually had no interest in keeping up with the Jones’. Or the Smiths. Or anyone else for that matter. These things were not meaningful to me.
When I announced my epiphany to my husband, I swear he got down on his knees and thanked the heavens that I had finally come around to his way of thinking. Because, you see, he had been preaching this message all along and I wasn’t ready to hear it.
For the past year, we have been slowly purging our house of extraneous possessions. We have been practical and realistic about gifts and gift-giving. You can read a little more about this from my sister-in-law’s guest blog The Gift Of Enough at Christmas.
We have blitzed the utility room and the storage room (I know! I was complaining about space and organizing and all along we had a STORAGE room…!). We’ve purged the kitchen, the art cabinet, all the bedrooms and we’ve made in-roads into the loft. Slowly I am giving my stuff away.
I’ve sold some stuff on Facebook and I am giving my stuff away on Freecycle. Lots of stuff has gone to the charity shop. Wherever we can, we try to find a good home for things because I absolutely and whole-heartedly object to the disposable mentality of our society today. I find our local council household-waste facility a really depressing place to go!
Every time something goes out of the house, I feel a little lighter. Every time a bit of floor-space or counter-space reveals itself, I marvel at my lack of urge to fill it. Our house is slowly revealing itself to only contain things that we know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. And I am learning to fall in love again with Everything That Remains (credit to The Minimalists for this turn of phrase)
I wanted to document this because as I give my stuff away, I’ve been inwardly observing how it changes me. Minimalism is slowly becoming a big part of who I am. As I have purged the physical things that no longer have a role in my life, I feel my perspective changing on other so-called ‘must-haves’ of modern living. Including technology. But that’s a blog-post for another day. The day will definitely come though! Along with my thoughts on The Myth of the Time Thief. Stay tuned…