When I met Bear I started a new box. Things from my old box didn’t seem as important, and I would suffer from a bad case of nostalgia whenever I rummaged through my old things because I saved everything from past boyfriends. I always had this idea that my future daughter would want to see who I dated before their dad.
Uhm, what? I’m not really sure where I got that idea from and proceeded to have a bonfire with the aforementioned bestie and my husband where I burned love notes, photos, sweet gestures, a teddy bear, Uno cards. Warning: Do not inhale burning UNO cards. That stuff is paper on drugs.
Okay, so I got rid of the stuff that gave me anxiety and kept all of the ridiculously funny things from junior high and high school that have made me into the person I am today. Or something like that.
Last year I worked my way through a book called Sevenly by Jen Hatmaker. This book kind of tore apart the layers of what made me me and caused me to readdress how I was doing some things. One of the main things I changed was committing to only buying used clothing. (I’ll probably talk about this another day.) And the other main thing I changed was the amount of junk I accumulated that I could be giving away to a.) help other people and b.) relieve myself of clutter stress.
So, we had a garage sale.
It was really difficult for me to decide what to give away, and the thought of having another one gives me instant anxiety. The garage sale was, however, a success and we sold over 800 items. (I may have tallied every single item just to be able to say, “This is how many items less we have in our house.” It made me feel relieved, I guess. I was almost proud of myself in a sense, too, for being able to say goodbye to things.
A few weeks later we looked into the garage and noticed there were still so many unnecessary items still piled up that were never sold. That pile has been there since last June.
Since then I’ve been working on eliminating things that are more personal to me – like t-shirts from certain retreats, or cds that I loved but could care less about now, or even business cards that I’ve kept around. Seriously, what kind of fool saves a business card for that long? Well, who knows if I’ll ever need to contact that person!
Clearly my attachment to things (sentimental things, of course) had reached a level of unhealthy over the years that I hadn’t realized until I read Jen’s book. At the beginning of this project I had reoccurring dreams about mine and Bear’s house burning down and me running back inside for certain items. Fool! This needed to be addressed. When I was awake I would talk myself through the fact that I didn’t need these things and that I should be okay with anything in my house burning aside from living, breathing things. But I kept having these dreams. This sounds extreme, but I am not making this up.
I decided to start writing in my journal about these things I couldn’t live without, and soon discovered that writing about them actually made it possible for me to let go of them. To date I have 250 items eliminated from my closet, my book shelves, my craft area, etc., and I consider that number small compared to how much more I want to get rid of.
God speed, Sam!