Make Room for Your Life – Not Your Stuff

George Carlin’s “Stuff”

Let’s be totally honest – We Love Stuff!  We like surrounding ourselves with stuff – it gives us pleasure.  We enjoy it.  I know I do (just ask my husband!)  Our stuff helps us define who we are; it’s an expression to the world and to ourselves of who we believe we are.

Does a “Come to the Edge Today” life include stuff?  Of course it does!  We are physical beings living a physical life.  It’s part of our human experience.  The question is not whether to have stuff, the question is what motivates us to keep stuff and why?

Why do we acquire and hold on to stuff?  The reasons are many and vary depending upon current or past life circumstances, situations, beliefs, states of mind, etc.  Following are 12 reasons:

  • We believe it will bring us joy
  • We believe it serves a purpose
  • We purchase/retain stuff with the intention to grow (ex I want these CD’s to learn about….. or, I am going to read this book so I can….)
  • We acquire/retain stuff to fill gaps from the emptiness we feel inside.  Holes, gaps and emptiness are generally not acceptable to us and we want to fill them with someone or some-thing
  • We acquire because sometimes we are fearful of not having enough in the future (I’ll purchase this now, because next month I may not have the money)
  • We retain gifts from loved ones (sometimes I like them and sometimes I don’t but hang on to them because of the giver)
  • We spent a lovely day with a friend.  The acquired item is now associated with that memory so we hang on to it
  • We retain memorabilia from childhood memories (our own or our children’s)
  • We acquire/retain stuff because we have always dreamed of having it
  • We acquire/retain stuff with dreams of “someday” (ex. someday I’ll be able to wear this, or someday I’ll use it to get back into shape)
  • We acquire stuff that helps us move towards the new “me” (ex. this car exemplifies the new, abundant “me” I am creating)
  • We acquire/retain stuff for pure enjoyment

As we grow and “Come to the Edge Today” with new life adventures, it is clear that retaining some of our stuff just doesn’t make sense anymore.  It doesn’t serve its intended purpose, it doesn’t give us joy or inspire us, or doesn’t fit the new “me”.  It has turned to clutter.

So, how to move on and gently say “goodbye” to what once served us so well* to make room for our “new” life?  Below is today’s “leaping exercise” which offers a pragmatic and thank-filled method for letting go and moving on.  (*Note, “Come-to-the-Edge-Today”-living makes this distinction – we are not the servant to stuff; the stuff  is meant to serve us!)

Today’s “leaping exercise”: Let’s call this the “Thankfully-Moving-On”/de-cluttering project! Determine a workable schedule for letting go of stuff that no longer serves you.  This can be daily, weekly – whatever works with your life.  Make this a doable schedule so you can keep your commitment to this activity.  Choose the area you have time to complete.  For example, if you only have 15 minutes, then choose a simple drawer, not the garage (ask my husband about this tip and he will lovingly suggest I read this tip for myself!).  Try to complete the task in the allotted time so your entire household isn’t torn apart!

Remember:  This exercise is more than just de-cluttering stuff.  It is a time for reflection and looking ahead.  While pragmatic, this is a powerful exercise for becoming clear with yourself about who you are and what you want as you move forward with your life!

The goal:  BE HONEST about your reasons for keeping the item or letting it go.  Listen to what your wise heart is saying about each item.

Sort the items according to the following categories:

“This item no longer serves me because…”

  • It does not bring me joy anymore
  • I was keeping it just to fill a hole inside me
  • It is a memory I want to keep, but not the item (take a photo of it and make a photo album to retain the wonderful memory)
  • I kept this out of a feeling of obligation
  • I’ve kept this out of fear that I won’t have enough in the future
  • It does not serve me anymore
  • This item doesn’t fit the “new me”
  • Deep down, I know I really won’t use this or wear this (be honest)
  • Add your own reasons

“I am keeping this item because…”

  • I still enjoy it
  • It still gives me a good feeling
  • It will help me reach my dreams and goals
  • It is part of the “me” I am becoming
  • It serves a purpose in my “now” life
  • It gives me joy
  • Add your own reasons

As you gather your items into these categories, place the “letting go” items into a box and intentionally acknowledge the role that they played in your life.  Give thanks for the gift they provided and also give thanks for the people who will receive and use these items to create their new lives!  As you put back the items you will keep into their proper place, give thanks for the joy they continue to bring to you!

Enjoy making room for your new life!  It  feels SO good!

Additional ideas for your “Thankfully-Moving-On” /De-clutter project:

http://zenhabits.net/18-five-minute-decluttering-tips-to-start-conquering-your-mess/http://unclutterer.com/2009/02/17/instructions-for-decluttering-your-home-in-less-than-500-words/

Thankfully submitted knowing my next “Moving-On”/De-cluttering project is the garage (!) – Joan Kappes

Photos courtesy of TinyPic

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