In which I do not let my Stuff overcome me

This past weekend we had a garage sale. I had never put one together, though I enjoy going to them immensely, so I had no idea what a lot of work it is. There is the sorting, the pricing, the moving and setting up of tables, the selling. Aferwards, there is more sorting, removal of said pricetags, the taking to Salvation Army, the contacting for donation, etc. And in my case, the posting of things that did not sell but should have to Craigslist. I still have to say, it was totally worth it. Yes, we didn’t make our first million by having the sale. But we got rid of a lot of stuff, we donated even more to good causes (All our baby stuff is being donated specifically to charities who deal with low income mothers). But what really gets me all excited is that I got rid of a ton of stuff!

Both Scott and I have this aversion to stuff. The problem is, I also am a big fan of “saving for a rainy day”. You know, the whole “I might need that one day” attitude. In my mid-twenties I started working vigorously to counteract my pack-rat tendencies. I had boxes and boxes of, well, stuff that I had been lugging around with me. Old college notes. Magazines. Too many books. After moving it for the third time and realizing that I never used any of that stuff, I threw out bags and bags of what basically amounted to baggage…things I didn’t need. Junk.

I try really hard to go through my things once a year or so and get rid of stuff. It’s more than just not having a place to store things. I ask myself: “If I had to move out of my house today, and I had only one day, would I be able to do it?” Maybe that’s extreme, but really, who needs half the stuff they have?

The hardest part of this was going through the boy’s clothes. I kept coming across outfits that I thought “Oh, I remember when Ben wore this and we did this” or “Oh, Toby looked so cute in this at christmas”….but why save it? I have pictures, I have memories. There are, of course, limited outfits we’ve saved. I allow myself a few. The outfit Toby wore home from the hospital. The PJ’s Ben wore on his last day here on earth. A sleeper that they both wore that was so cute I cannot part with it. But other than that, I purged big time…donated, sold, gave away. I don’t want all this physical baggage holding me back. I want my house to feel clean, to feel like we live here and can create memories here, not like our junk is keeping us here.

It’s hard to be sentimental (which I am, to a fault) and still be able to get rid of things. I don’t want to hold on to things simply because they are there but because I attach memories and events to them. I’m learning that it’s not necessary to have a physical reminder of events and memories, sometimes the memories are enough.

And when they aren’t, there’s always the scrapbooking to help me remember. The scrapbooking which now takes over a whole room in our house. *sigh*. I still have a long way to go.

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