“Set yourself free from being overrun by your possessions"- Chris KousountidIs
If you had to suddenly evacuate your home due to an unforeseen emergency and were only able to carry one suitcase, what would you take?
For most of us, this is an extremely difficult and uncomfortable question to take seriously. Let’s face it, we all have too many things that we cherish- certainly too many things to fit into one little suitcase.
Like most American consumers today, we have a tremendous fascination with our acquired possessions- otherwise known as “STUFF”. We are conditioned to believe that stuff identifies who we are; stuff represents our status in society and reflects upon our personal ambitions. Our stuff are the rewards of our hard work and we protect them as we do our loved ones. Especially in a country that has no shortage of access to acquiring ANY manufactured goods and “collectibles”- logic takes a back seat to the joys of ownership. From over-the counter shopping to catalog shopping to internet orders and auctions, the pleasures of ‘getting’ has been made so easy and knows no bounds.
Our attachment and association to our belongings connect us with many deep rooted habits from childhood and are empowered by the many marketing triggers in our consumerist society. Commercials that compel you to “collect them all” or “buy now while supplies last” brainwash us all to act on impulse with little or no concern for the CONSEQUENCE.
Purchases range in value from the most necessary life-sustaining essentials like food, clothing and shelter-- to the more personally-driven effects that express our very uniqueness. In moderation, all people need material things to fill their lives. Personal effects play a vital role in bringing emotional security to one’s individuality where exercising the freedom of choice and fulfilling the ability to own what you like is a huge part of the American dream. But as a society that embraces a belief that “you are what you own”- many fall into the assumption that ‘the more you own… the better off you ARE’.
Personal items like fashion wear, art and recreational “toys” (to name a few) have a recurring tendency to need upgrades or accessorizing. They also invite continuous collecting. Just think of your cassette and record collection-- which is now your CD collection; this means buying and re-buying. An overabundance of these things (or a lack of accountability of them) can easily consume a large portion of our living space and our very way of life.
The life cycle of ‘stuff’ varies depending on the item and the owner - but for the average garage sale or Ebay merchandise, the harsh reality of the general ‘stuff’ tends to start from an enthusiastic “gotta have it” and eventually end up as a space-eater in your closet, attic or garage.
Over time, you outgrow things. Over time, your values will inevitably change. After the thrill and the urgency for that item has completely faded, it makes its way to a less visible storage area in your home- next to all your other effects that you resist parting with. And once this happens, “out of sight / out of mind” brings years to pass and your once “must have” item has now become a dilemma for disposal.
According to nature, this is the pathway of ALL things.
Am I telling you to stop buying things? Of course not. But if you find yourself having a hard time getting rid of surplus possessions or old ‘stuff’ that you no longer need regularly, perhaps this might be the time to regain control of your space, your buying habits. Perhaps now is the time to rethink how you can dispose of stuff freely in a way that others can benefit.
If you are ready- set yourself FREE.
1) Know your space and take account of what you currently own
2) When reviewing your ‘inventory’, try and assess if there’s anything you’ve stored that can be used now.
3) Keep up with a seasonal cleaning schedule of your storage areas
4) When doing a seasonal cleaning, subscribe to your neighborhood recycling and separate your papers from your plastics.
5) Get familiar with the many charities that will accept your unwanted used stuff
6) Reduce waste as much as you can by being mindful of what is trash and what can be given away, donated or sold. Your old belongings may be of use to someone else.
7) When shopping, be mindful of the item’s size and how long it will be of value to you.
8) For the ‘collector’- commit to learning how to LET GO. It heals the soul and helps your home.
9) If you feel your things are not yet trash-bound, know about websites like TAKEMEIMFREE.com where you can post your unwanted stuff so others can benefit from it.