Thursday, July 26, 2012

Freedom from Stuff

When we moved out of our house in Portland, we left most of our household items and moved into a temporary apartment for two months.  It was a furnished apartment, and had quite a few amenities, but there was also a minimalistic feeling about the apartment.  For a family of five, the dishware was barely adequate.  But I tried not to complain - we were only there for two months, and we were there as a family, instead of me staying behind in Portland with the kids while my husband started his new job in California.
After two months of this simplistic living, I realized that there are a lot of things I can do without.  When our household finally arrived on the moving truck, I was thrilled to have a fully stocked kitchen once again.  And then I started the process of unpacking.  Oh. My. Gosh.  We have a bunch of stuff!
As I sorted through the boxes of stuff, I started to get a little depressed.  It was actually a little freeing not to have a bunch of things around me while we were in the apartment.  So I've decided not to be depressed by all the stuff we have.  I'm going to enjoy everything I own, or I'm going to get rid of it.
I have come up with this motto: Love it, Use it, or Lose it.  If I don't love it or use it, I'll get rid of it.  There is absolutely no point of having something that I don't use.  Just as pointless is having something I sort of like, or something I don't like at all.  It's like that sweater in your closet that you keep only because you might wear it someday, even though every time you put it on you hate how you look in it.  GET RID OF IT!  Really, it is very freeing to only have things around you that you love.
As I unpack, I ask myself, "Is this something I use?"  By "use" I mean: can I define a specific time when I use the item?  "Use" doesn't mean that I might want to use it at some point, but can't pinpoint exactly when.  If I'm only holding onto it because I might need it sometime in the future, I'm getting rid of it.  It is clutter.
I also ask myself, "Is it something I love?  Does it have meaning to me?"  And if I don't love it, or it doesn't mean anything to me, I get rid of it.  For instance, my curio cabinet has a bunch of pretty things in it.  One thing is a miniature salt and pepper shaker that was given to me by a friend who couldn't use them.  I love how they look, but they don't mean anything special to me.  So, I was about to get rid of them, but then realized that I could use them.  They match my dishes and I could keep them on my table.  Perfect.  One item I love is now getting used.
Something else in my curio cabinet is a red glass coffee service.  It is pretty, but I don't particularly love it.  It was my grandmother's, but it wasn't anything special to her, she just bought it because it was pretty.  So, since I will never use it, and I don't love it, and it doesn't have any memories attached to it, I am going to get rid of it.
I just finished getting the master bathroom set up the way I want it.  I pulled out a bunch of pretty containers and a pretty tray that I've been holding on to but haven't used, and I found uses for all of them.  I plopped my wedding bouquet into a vase and placed it in a corner of the counter.  I love how refreshing my bathroom feels now.  There isn't a bunch of clutter on the counter, and everything on it is something I love, use, and/or has meaning to me.
Do you look around your house and just see a bunch of stuff?  I challenge you: Love it, Use it, or Lose it.  You may just be surprised at how freeing getting rid of stuff is.