It suddenly hit me, as I saw the piles of unread magazines & unworn clothes, unused digital photo duplicates, uneaten food, & unused, useless belongings. Why the hell is there so much stuff? It had accumulated, over the years, & now, it didn’t actually matter anymore. Piles & piles of it, in my living room, in the closets, on the counters.
Part of the problem was my tendency towards over-sentimentality towards things that I own. I feel inclined to keep certain belongings of mine because when I see them, I’m reminded of the exact place & time of memories involving that item. I’ve started photographing these items, because I’ve realized that keeping the actual item isn’t important to me remembering it. Seeing it is enough to spark these memories. As The Minimalists say, “The memories aren’t in the things, they’re in me.”
The second reason is that I have a deep-seated fear that if I get rid of things, I might need or want or miss them sometime in the future. Even if they’ve been sitting in my garage in a box for the past five years, I still feel that way. Logically, I know that I don’t actually need it. My life has been just fine without it, & I haven’t missed it. I also know that there are incredibly few things I’ve ever gotten rid of that I’ve missed, & magically, I’ve been able to live without them anyways.
Yesterday, I threw out the three essentially empty bottles of the same scent of lotion that I used when I was 16. The smell of them was linked to one memory of mine. But I realized I don’t need the lotion to remember. The memory is in my mind, & on paper where I wrote it down. Today, I eliminated a rubber snail that was damaged by sitting in the sun too long, toys my dog never liked, & two purses I crocheted when I was a teenager but no longer used.
Earlier, my mom helped convince me to get rid of a skirt that I wanted to get rid of but felt obligated to keep. “That’s not your style anyways, & you already have a few long skirts like that one.” I put it in the bag of clothes to donate. I scanned & threw away random paper mementos that were only kind of important to me now.
Throwing out stuff & letting go of it is scary, but very, very freeing. I’m looking forward to making more progress.
I want everything I own to be my favorite thing.