28 October 2010

Jump Start Your Journey

Last year, I started to feel like I was drowning in stuff ~ stuff I didn't use, stuff I didn't need, and even stuff I didn't want.  On a search to find breathing room, I discovered Discardia and the 100 Thing Challenge.  Both sites got me thinking about where all this stuff came from and why I couldn't get rid of it.  Some of my friends have since asked me about my journey to living a more simplified life, so this post is dedicated to anyone who wants to get started down a similar path to freedom from junque.  Keep in mind... it is a journey, and I don't claim to have arrived.

Discardia helped me to part with the things I kept even though I didn't want them.  Parting with a gift or something inherited makes me feel guilty.  Somehow, we attach memories of people to their things.  We have to understand that parting with the item does not lessen our love for the giver (or previous owner in the case of "inheritance").  I don't need everything that was in Grama's house.  I wear her ring, and have a few of her Hummels.  Keeping her dishes (to give to my girls one day), freed me to get rid of a bunch of my dishes.  Too often things kept out of guilt drain joy from true treasures.  

I learned that true joy could be gained from giving my treasures away.  It's okay to pass along gifts to someone that will enjoy said items more than me.  Not in a sneaky regifting kind of way, just in an "I thought you would like this" kind of way.  

How often have you kept something because it was such a great deal?!  I bought a beautiful tea set for a steal once... but I didn't actually need another tea set.  It was pretty, and I liked it, but it was taking up space and stealing joy (guilt for owning it, guilt at the thought of getting rid of it since I spent money on it) ~ so, it went to live with my friend.  She now has real tea parties with her little girl instead of pretending with a play set.  Before, it was gathering dust in the shadows of my curio cabinet, now it is being used for its intended purpose ~ and that erases the guilt for me.   

The 100 Thing Challenge showed me why we accumulate so much stuff and how to stop the flood from overtaking my house and in turn, my spirit.  I never got down to 100 personal things, but my mindset has changed.  I now view retail therapy as a temporary bandaid, not a permanent fix.  I've found it much easier to donate half my closet, and I'm enjoying more breathing room even though we are in a significantly smaller home than we were a year ago.  Those skinny jeans I've been saving... they are from another season in my life.  Hoarding them in my closet will not make me skinny ~ it just makes me sad to look at them.  Besides, by the time they fit again, they will only be great for vintage costume parties ~ hardly worth the space in my closet since I don't get invited to many of those.  Time to have a garage sale or better yet, donate to a good cause (Check out Donate or Save to see the math).  It's Plain & Simple As That.

For more ideas on where to get started, check out the discussion pages for Discardia on Facebook and the 100 Thing Challenge on Facebook.   

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