We all have possessions, some more important to us than others. Some we have acquired by choice, some are gifts, some we have inherited and some seem to just materialize over time. However we have acquired these things, we need to consider whether they are there because we really want them there. Do the things we have acquired fit with the original plan we had for our life? Do they reflect who we are, what we like and how we like to live?
If you are reading this at home, take a moment to look around you. My guess is that some of what you have in your home is just…hanging out there.
See if any of these sound familiar:
- Your kids have moved out but you’re still ‘minding’ some of their things.
- Your parents have passed on or moved into retirement accommodation and you can’t bear to part with their things.
- You like browsing flea markets or op shops and can’t resist a bargain or an unusual item.
- You had a bare corner, wall or shelf and just wanted something to fill it.
- Your well-meaning friends/family buy you gifts of household items that are more their taste than yours.
- It might come in useful if the old one breaks down, blows up or wears out.
- With a bit of paint, repair, or remodeling it will look great (if you can get around to it / find a spot for it).
These are just some of the reasons I've heard for holding onto stuff that just doesn't need to be there. Stuff that sits in a corner or in a pile. Stuff that doesn't fit or match or work properly.
Courtesy of drclouthier.com
Here are a few suggestions to begin to deal with some of this stuff.
I use the term ‘Mindful Acquisition’ and by this I mean ‘thinking about everything that comes into your home whether by choice or by circumstance’. If it wasn't your personal choice and you don’t really want it there, don’t keep it – move it on.
If your kids have moved out, make it their problem to deal with their excess stuff. It might sound a bit harsh, but if they don't’ want it now, they probably don’t want it at all.
Holding on to stuff that belonged to parents or family members can be as difficult as letting it go, but there are ways to deal with it respectfully. There are many website that give advice on this.
If you have a bare spot in your home that really needs something to fill it, think about what would serve the purpose best. For a wall, do you have a favourite artist or style of painting? Do you think a bold splash of colour would complement the room? Could you frame a child’s artwork or a certificate of achievement, a menu from your favourite restaurant or a program from an unforgettable show? This might be a good spot to mount a shelf to hold your mother’s collection of frog ornaments (if you really want to keep them). Don’t just stick any old thing there and say “that’ll do”.
In a nutshell, the goal is to make sure we have a good reason for everything we acquire.
Courtesy of marketwatch.com
If you are keeping items just because they were gifts then perhaps you could start to prime your gift-givers as to what kinds of things you like. My friends and family know how much I love books and music and good wine, so I can be pretty sure that’s what I’ll receive as gifts. They also know I’m a bit of a minimalist and that my home is quite small, so I don’t have room for lots of stuff.
I know I've said it before, but this quote from William Morris sums it up quite nicely:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”