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Monday, October 31, 2011

stuff Stuff STUFF!!!

The five letter word that we label 'shopping therapy' when we buy it, makes us run our credit cards to the limit, and gives us headaches when we try to sort through it. 

STUFF!

Boxes of toys our kids don't play with anymore.  Clothes that don't fit (But maybe someday!).  Things given to us that are more sentimental than practical.  Bags of who knows what in the attic that's been there for ages.  I'm guilty of all of the above.

So much stuff and so little time to use it all and not enough space to keep it all.  But, we do anyway because for many of us, it's hard to let go of things.  Letting go is so permanent.  And, the longer we hold onto it, the harder it is to let go and make that permanent decision.

I had a tank top that I finally threw away last year that I had since I was THIRTEEN!  Was it even something nice to wear?  No.  I kept it because I've always kept it.  It never made the cut when I went through my clothes.  And, after awhile I just couldn't throw it away because it represented a time in my life.  Then, one day, I made the decision.  I came to my senses and talked myself into putting it into the dumpster.  And, believe me, it was not easy.  I still remember when I saw the trash truck come that week and I watched him put our trash in the truck.  It was hard to let go.  But, strangely, it was a relief, too.  It's been one less thing now to organize and I have a bit more space in my closet.

If we don't let go of things, if we don't sort and decide what we really need and want, the things that were once meant to enhance our life will only crowd and suffocate us.  They aren't a blessing anymore, they are a burden.  We look around our house and say, "We need a bigger house!", when actually what we need is a few trash bags, some empty boxes, and a new perspective.

I had a yard sale about a month ago and I finally had the strength to put out an old comforter that I used in college some 15 years ago.  It was still in nice shape and I still liked the pattern.  But, I haven't used it in 10 years.  It's been taking up space in my attic and when we move out of our current home, it will be one more thing I'll be lugging to our new place -- and I probably won't use it there either.  I've kept it because I like it, not because I've been using it or have needed it.

But, it turns it out, someone else did need it.  Really needed.

At the end of my yard sale, I made a decision to give everything that was not sold away for free.  There was no way I was going to bring all this stuff I worked so hard on to sort through, back into my house to clutter it again.  About 10 minutes after deciding, a car pulled up and saw the comforter.  She asked how much it was and I told her for free.  She couldn't believe it. 

She said, "Oh, how wonderful!  I know someone with 3 children who asked me if I had any extra blankets!"

She went on to tell me that these children don't actally have a bed to sleep on either right now.  They were in great need and trying to find help.  And, because I was willing to let go of my clutter, there are children who are now sleeping a little warmer tonight.

I'm so glad I let go.

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