The de-clutter bug is catching! Last night I dropped six bags of clothing off at my church’s community clothes closet. Two were mine, and four were from a dear friend who is also working on reducing the number of items in her home. She and I agree that it feels aahhh-maz-ing to get this unwanted, unused and unnecessary clutter out of our way!
Interestingly, today I attended a professional women’s luncheon where the topic was dealing with difficult people. I expected the discussion to focus on how to handle difficult people in the workplace, but the speakers were from the local hospital’s geriatric psychiatric and community education departments who presented information about dealing with adults (aging and otherwise) who suffer from ailments that lead to conduct such as hoarding and inappropriate sexual behavior. It was a good presentation, and it was interesting to see how many women identified with statements regarding having too many possessions, or ways in which possessions prevented them from easily performing everyday tasks like being able to eat a meal at the dinner table, or even sit on the couch to watch television.
I think there’s a big difference between being a hoarder and having too much stuff, but in many ways I can see the correlation between possessions and emotion. A lot of us hang onto things because we feel getting rid of them would dishonor someone’s memory, or cause us to lose attachments to people we love. I’m guilty of it, too. I have a few stuffed animals from my childhood sitting in a small box in a spare bedroom. They were toys I loved as a child, and I’m having a hard time letting go. I also held onto a few things from my previous marriage a little longer than I should have, until I figured out that having those things physically present in my home also allowed them to have a presence in my brain. Who needs that kind of emotional baggage when you can toss it in the garbage and literally kick it to the curb? (And, oh, the satisfaction I got out of that!)
I know it’s not always that easy. I’m really fortunate to be in a place now where it’s easier to separate myself from my possessions. The trip to Haiti last year, seeing so many people living with so little — well, it left a lasting impression. I only spent nine days there, but it didn’t take long to realize that many of us in the United States suffer from overabundance. We have so stinkin’ much, and yet we’re so stinkin’ unhappy, selling our souls to make a buck when none of our earthly riches can follow us into heaven.
I’m really curious about what other people think about this topic. It’s been on my mind for weeks (obviously!), and I’m finding tons of great blogs and articles online (plus some pretty great sermons from my pastor) on minimalism, what a truly happy/successful life looks like, and the type of legacy we’re building for future generations. If anybody reading (hi, Mom!) has thoughts, leave a comment here or on Facebook, or drop me an e-mail to jennifer greene 09 at gmail dot com (spelled that out so the spambots don’t find me!). I’d love to hear from you!