Seven and a half years ago I had a fire in my house and lost nearly everything. After rebuilding, I came back into the house with very few things, determined to keep the space clean and clear. I had been decluttering as the boys had been getting older but it still amazed me how much stuff I had.
I don't think I have a ton of stuff now but I do notice that it has begun to fill up. There are duplications of many things and other items that I’ve rarely used. How many sets of sheets, hiking boots, jackets, pots and pans, coffee maker pots, or candles do I really need? The initial desire and craving to want something or the awesome feeling that comes with “I scored a great deal!” is great but really, what am I doing with it all? Where’s the value?
“Stuff” can be a lot to take care of, to keep clean, to keep track of. It can really weigh you down after a while and have the space feeling pretty heavy. Is this why we don’t like to clean the house? And while there may be a sense of being full, too much can also lead to a feeling of emptiness.
In our consumerism world, we’ve been taught that “things” can make us happy, give us comfort, have us feeling safe and secure. All you have to do is watch a TV ad to dissect the not-so-subliminal messages. Even our brain helps this along as we get a little hit of dopamine every time we click the Buy Now button.
Underneath it all, though, when we truly look, we know that things don’t matter in the scheme of life. No one on their death bed ever wished they spent more time shopping and collecting things. It’s people, relationships, heart-felt connections, and experiences that fill us up. Research shows this as well: nearly 70% of us would prefer a gift of connected experience over a material item (great food for thought as we navigate the “giving month”.)
As I near the time when I don't want to be working as much, it begs me to be more intelligent about what I do with my money resources now and to have my personal financial investments be less diversified into the Stuff and Don’t-Really-Need portion of my portfolio which truly hasn’t given a high return on investment.
Over the next few months, I'm going to be more aware and particular about this resource, making note of the essentials versus the disposable, how I share it with other practitioners, and whether they’re local (Small Business Saturday 11/30) or far away (big box shops). I’m sure this’ll create some amusement as we're heading into the holiday purchasing season and I'm secretly grateful that I don't go ballistic with presents like I used to. That's a saving grace.
A practice might be to put things in the Checkout cart but not hit the Buy Now button for a few days, until the dopamine hit has passed and I can re-assess. Another practice might be to purchase only essentials and what's on the shopping list... which will mean cutting chips and chocolate out of my grab-and-go habit (that will certainly save a lot in many areas of my life). And perhaps not buy a book for at least three months. This would certainly test me for sure! I am a book-aholic, after all. Maybe just use what I have to the fullest and go from there.
So, lots of things to mull over… what to do with the extras and any clutter, how to prevent “the fill” from growing, how to enjoy life without the necessity of so many things, and finding spaciousness in simplicity. Yay! What a treat it is to experiment and play with habits of being.