Have you ever thought about how much energy all of your things require?
I hadn’t. Until recently.
In the past couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to touch almost every THING in our house that has lived with us for the last 10 years.
What has struck me most, is that each THING acquired, required me to make the money to buy it, then research the perfect THING in its category, then buy it. Sometimes the THING that comes into the house isperfect and we use it regularly, but sometimes it disappoints and ends up in the closet, the back of the drawer or worse, the basement where it collects dust and lives with the spiders.
Some of those THINGS grow cobwebs over them, some rust out, and others dry up. The things we DO like, we have to clean, store, and take care of, or pay someone else to do that.
I’ve seen it all of late.
The old bottles of supplements that have been outdated for several years.
The dried-up tube of anti-bacterial cream, being saved for a camping trip.
The rusted hand garden tools bought at an art fair, made by a lovely craftsman.
Then there’s the camping equipment, used oh-so-rarely, because in truth, I’m not a camper.
There are the presents people have given us that I haven’t had the heart to give away.
The raggedy pet toys, truly past their day.
The clothes that I love but are worn out.
You get it. The list is looooooong.
And while sorting, making hundreds, if not thousands of decisions, I am at once accosted by the slough of feelings that rankle the heart. There’s the shame that warmed me when I saw the rusted, dusty garden tools. I hung my head like a bad dog for a bit. But what is done is done, and time can’t be reversed.
The strongest feeling has been the one of clinging – the wanting to let something go, but then rethinking that perhaps I COULD use that THING in the new place, but in reality I don’t have THAT much space. So, the voice in my head says, “No, Diane, you cannot take that vase (insert whatever noun here) with you. I see myself putting it in the GIFT pile, then pulling it back to the KEEP pile. Then realizing, no, you have to give that one away.
The voice in the head reminds me again: ”Remember, you are NOT getting a storage unit. You MUST make decisions and let go.”
Erez and I originally thought we’d geta storage unit. That was a relief. We could KEEP the STUFF. As the process has continued, we’ve been asking ourselves, WHY? Why are we going to PAY hundreds of dollars a month to store things we won’t even remember we have?
The artist in me wants to keep the things I’ve saved for the “some-day” pile. I can still hear myself say, “Oh, but some day I’m going to make earrings. I should keep the wire clippers and beads, the earring backs and jewelry glue. Or what about the box of broken bits of cups and plates for the mosaic I’ve been planning on for years? (Well, THATone made the cut and came with me)
These last few months have been all about sorting, tossing, giving, letting go, and taking the essentials. We’ve just had a massive garage sale, and have sold 85% of our furniture and 70% of our stuff.
In the end, I notice it’s the sentimental things we all keep. The pictures, the jewelry from Mom, the letters saved over decades. These are the things that warm our hearts.
In my cleaning out, I found two files of letters my Mom had written me back in college and my early twenties. So, Mom and I are sitting and reading the letters out loud to one another when I visit her in Oakland. We’re creating new memories in the last chapter of her life.
Those moments are priceless. They take us back to long gone days and help us remember life as we knew it then.
This move, this sorting and letting go, is a huge gift. I’m feeling the lightness of being. Less to take care of, less to manage, less to get rid of next time. However, I WILL be keeping ALL of my journals. And I have a lot of those!
Now, in my much smaller house, I will practice discernment from the get go and only allow into my home that which I LOVE, that which I will USE, and that which brings me JOY. No dust and cobweb collecting here!