I have always had a hard time letting go of anything. This includes stuff, clothes, and even organizations. If I want to analyze this, it probably comes from my childhood, which was chaotic, at best.
I never really had a consistent home, living with different relatives in different circumstances. I am sure this is why my love for our physical home is so strong, and why I have a hard time parting with the stuff that we (well, I!) have collected for our home through the years. While I am very clear about the undeniable fact that stuff does not make a home, the people who live in it do, nevertheless I have stuffed ours to the gills with stuff. So much stuff that I do not even know what we have, and if I need to find something, I have to wade through lots of other stuff to locate what I am looking for! Now, I am not a hoarder, I am a collector. But enough is enough. I have made two trips to Replacements in the last month and have another scheduled next week. Not to buy, but to sell. No, they do not give you what your stuff is worth, but what is it worth collecting dust?!
I have been on a journey to reduce my stuff for a couple of years, and I have made some progress. But not enough. My inspiration for culling comes from two sources. One is my friend Leah Friedman, who has an organizing business, Raleigh Green Gables. While Leah is a great organizer, she is really more of a simplifier than an organizer. Think about the difference in those two words. Leah does not just help you move things around, putting stuff in bins and boxes. She helps you decide what to keep that makes your life simpler and more manageable. I highly recommend her services.
The other person who has been my inspiration is Joshua Becker, who is a minimalist. Joshua’s definition of rational minimalism is “getting rid of what is in one’s way of living their best life.” These are my words to describe what he writes and speaks about. His two books, The More of Less and The Minimalist Home, as well as his articles and course, have made a profound difference in my life.
Regarding organizations, I have made two changes this week to let go of them. One is a Professional Women’s organization that I have been a member of for thirty years. I am a past president of that organization. When it came time to renew my membership this month, I decided that I cannot make the organization a priority. I had not been to even one monthly meeting in the past year, mainly due to my travel schedule. I decided that I was holding on to the organization for sentimental reasons and that it is time to let go. I almost reconsidered when the current president called me about my membership. I decided, however, that I had made a good decision, and that I should not revisit it.
The other organization is one that I have also been a member of for thirty years. I wish I had the money that I paid in monthly dues of that organization, for most of the months in those thirty years I did not attend even one event! I did not drop that membership entirely, but I did move down to the lowest level of membership which will still allow me to attend a monthly meeting and other activities that are important to me. If I find that I am not making good use of that membership at the new level, I will drop my membership entirely.
Clothes are a work in process. I went through my closet and drawers this morning, and (most) clothes that no longer fit me went in a pile to donate. My recent weight loss has me able to fit into some clothes that I haven’t worn for several years. So, I am giving away good clothes that no longer fit me, not planning to hold onto them in case I regain the weight! I still have entirely too many clothes and will continue to purge them. I am not yet on the Capsule system, or the thirty-three items system, but I am committed to not buying anything new for several months and getting rid of what I do not wear this season.
There is more work to be done letting go. There are people, activities, and places that I plan to work on next. Those will be even harder than letting go of stuff, clothes, and organizations.
I am a work in process. How about you?