The last few
weeks months have been some of the most difficult of my life for one simple reason: having to sell everything I own. Now, it might seem simple to get rid of everything but one suitcase full of clothes, but it’s not: it’s emotionally draining in so many ways. It’s almost like going through the death of a loved one. I know that sounds preposterous as it’s stuff, not people, but there are so many memories attached to many of the things I got rid of that it feels like someone died.
I suppose someone did die: the old me before kids, before marriage. As I began to riffle through all my stuff thinking about where to begin, I met with old memories from my childhood and teenage years. I met up with old dreams and aspirations, old friends. I was confronted by the me I wanted to be ten years ago at the start of college. I went through boxes of letters keeping only the most precious ones. I threw out boxes of art work from college, sold off all my photo studio gear, reduced all my crafting/sewing supplies down to only the basics. To be honest, my heart was aching. I thought about all the time and effort put into making these things. I donated bags of clothing and even my wedding dress. Getting rid of the amazingly well-stocked kitchen I had built hurt so much. Some things I did not get rid of only gave to my mother to keep. It felt like the homesteading life I had begun to build was crumbling before me. But on I went, as everything needed to go.
The worst of it came when we had an epic garage sale where we put everything but our couch and beds out to be sold. Having people rifle through all our stuff wasn’t so bad. By this time I had gotten it through my head that anything in the garage was out of my life. If it went though the garage door, it no longer meant anything to me. It had to be that way. So when it came time for people to buy things I was hoping that they would be decent enough to accept the fair prices I put on things. But I was wrong of course. I quickly came to the realization that no matter how nice a person seemed they still wanted a good deal and they wanted to buy very expensive things for dirt cheap. I sold so many things for prices that made me cringe and swallow back the words I wanted to send out. I realized that once something has been bought from a store it no longer holds any value at all. Even if it’s new and hasn’t been used yet. This made me very angry at the time.
Now that a week has passed and I have done several thrift store donation runs and the house is almost empty I find myself not even remembering what was at that garage sale. Better yet, I find myself not wanting to remember. Letting go of owning so many things and starting from scratch has me on the edge of a new path to simplicity. So maybe this is the way it had to be. Change is good right? Once good note: the gigantic wad of cash that looks like something from a Russian mob movie that we deposited in the bank. I’d like to say thank you to all the friends who adopted things which I had a hard time parting with and could not take money for. Silly as it is, something like my professional wooden chopping block I could not bear to sell to anyone. So I had a friend adopt it. To sum up all these rambling thoughts:
- stuff is just stuff
- used stuff holds no value except to its owner (if that)
- be smart about buying things
- own less stuff
- only bring things into your life if you will use them on a weekly basis (will make an exception for holiday things)
- attach yourself to people and experiences, not material goods
I would really love to hear your thoughts owning stuff and your attachment or non-attachment to materials objects.