The layers of STUFF

Here I am in the beautiful sunshine, surrounded by things I once “needed”, watching passerbys haggle over 50 cents.

It’s Garage Sale day.

In spite of diligently selling off our possessions over the past year, I am amazed how many things I can still pull out of cupboards and off shelves. Things that I have hunted and bargained for, now acting like heavy stones, weighing us down.

You know that feeling? The weight removed as things get off-loaded?

I am feeling the joy of emptier cupboards and space on shelves. It never ceases to amaze me how much we can do without.

For us, the un-stuffing has been done in layers. First, the big things. The shelf that isn’t used, the VHS collection that takes up a whole bookcase, the library of unread books that “I’m totally gonna read one day!”

Next, the “I might want someday” items. Odd containers I think I have lids for somewhere, that purse I just had to have, the shirt that doesn’t really fit me well, but maybe it’ll fit again someday? The hair bands and chocolate making supplies and scrapbooking supplies (although I have never made a scrapbook – but someday I will, right?).

After that comes the I-use-it-once-a-month stuff. The jewellery, the fun scarf (#3, or was it 4 I had?). Don’t even get me started on baby toys…why is he happier playing with my Tupperware, anyways? And why do I still feel compelled to buy him 8 trucks and a ginormous bag of building blocks, which he doesn’t use to build with anyways?

I know in my head that we don’t need all that we have. I have experienced living with less, and the complete freedom of realizing we really can do without much of the frills and gadgets. Not to mention the time that is freed up. With a few less things to organize or dust or move from one drawer to the next, I’m convinced that less stuff takes less time.

And then there’s the money. A few summers ago, we had this dilemma. The many shelves Jesh had built had become full. So the next thing was to build a shed. The thing is, it would cost, what, $800? So, we spend $800 to store stuff that’s actual value accounts to far less then that…see the problem? (Here’s where the booming storage unit industry comes in).

One of my biggest concerns in this process of selling most of our things was how it may effect the kids. Turns out they don’t seem to really notice (this may in part be due to conditioning. I have been known to sell off their things in the past. To the point where Seija’s every-day shoes were tidied and placed by the door, and she asked me why I was selling them).  Still, with each layer we remove from the home, they have yet to really notice, let alone complain. The kitchen Seija played with got sold before Christmas, and we made a bookshelf with some left over kitchen goodies and called it her new kitchen. Their piggy banks were swapped with painted mason jars, and they haven’t batted an eye. Which begs the question…am I getting them things because they are need/are excited about it, or because I am? 

As we think of what will make it into 8 suitcases, the problem of how much stuff we have is severely highlighted. (This coming from someone who loves to shop, loves a good deal, and gets physically elated when there’s a big sale. All of which are not bad in and of themselves, but have certainly contributed to my full house).

You know that feeling when you find something that is too good a deal to pass up on? That sale of all sales? The deal of the month?

It turns out there is always more where that came from.

By Julie