Monday, September 30, 2013

Ah, the Freedom of Unstuffing

In the past couple weeks I have taken five van-loads of stuff to the Goodwill donation store down the street – and I have another box waiting to go. Included in these loads were items like a work bench . . . curtain rods . . . an old computer monitor . . . four or five sets of bedsheets . . . fourteen picture frames . . . twelve tablecloths (twelve!! and yes, I kept a few still) . . . lots and lots of stuff.

I've also given a few boxes to my youngest daughter's school – some office supplies, some books and quite a few craft supplies to the art teacher. What she couldn't use, she recommended I see if a nursing home would be interested in. That hadn't even occurred to me. Turns out, they were thrilled to have my yarn, fabric scraps, and a few bags of polyfil.

And I have a couple boxes of homeschool supplies that I need to find a home for still. I'm not sharing all this to toot my own horn. I'm actually kind of embarrassed that I had this much stuff sitting around my house needlessly.

But I can't tell you how good this personal Clean Sweep has felt. I've been wanting to do this for so long. When we were considering the move to Panama, I started getting rid of things then. But the real impetus for all this came earlier, when my sister gave me a book for Christmas a couple years ago: Unstuff, by Hayley and Michael DiMarco. It was able to articulate the feeling I'd been having for a while.

The feeling that each unnecessary item we had stored away in the house was becoming a heavy burden. Even when I didn't use it. Even though we had room to keep it. Even when I didn't look at it for months or years on end. They weighed on me. I don't know why, but they did.

Downsizing into our new house has been remarkably freeing. Now, if I could just convince our packrat daughter of how good it feels. The six trashbags full of stuffed animals in the attic could really be put to better use in someone else's home – or many someone else's homes. And we haven't even started on the seven or so big boxes of random little items from the shelves in her bedroom.

Maybe we can charge her for the storage. Yeah . . . yeah, that's the ticket.

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