Monday, February 25, 2013


Yes, stuff. Have you ever realized how much we define ourselves by our stuff? We all have too much of it. And it's like getting rid of a dear friend to cull it from our lives. For some, stuff is a physical manifestation of the stuff in our heads. Cluttered minds and cluttered living spaces make it difficult to live a calm life.

I got to looking at the stuff I've collected over the years. Even though I purged huge truck loads when Terry and I moved to the lake, we still have too much. And this is after implementing a one-in-two-out rule.

Let's take a look the story my closets tell. If I buy a new shirt, two leave the closet. That's all well and good to keep hanger proliferation under control. My house has seven closets for two people. Six are in guest bedrooms, but each of those closets has outside hooks for guest clothes. That mean, each "guest" closet is full of stuff we don't wear.

How do I know we don't wear it? Easy. At the beginning of each year, I turn all hangers around so the hooks point outwards. If we don't worn an item in the next twelve months, I have a visual aid. But that hasn't always led to filling trash bags for the dump or boxes for Goodwill.

I culled a guest closet a couple of weeks ago. What was in it, you ask? Clothes, every expensive clothes, that no longer fit either of us. Yes, Terry and I have put on a few pounds since we worked in the corporate world. Our life style no longer requires us to wear suits and ties, dresses and blazers, all the time. Since some of these (honestly, a lot of these) items no longer fit, I took the largess to Goodwill. Terry's suits and dress slacks were generally two sizes too small. Mine were worse. I hate to admit it, but I had pants and skirts that were three sizes smaller than I am today.

I had to face a fact: I will never be small enough to wear my skin-tight, size eight black leather pants again. With a huge gulp and a tiny whimper, they went in the box. As did silk trousers. As did wool slacks that I can't wear at the lake, because they are too heavy. Out went various jackets I no longer need. Maybe someone else can use them.

I felt healthier for accepting that I'm no longer a size eight. I also felt emotionally lighter for getting rid of almost an entire closet of business clothes.

I looked around at the rest of the house. I need to de-stuff more of it, but that will come later. And will result in a different post. For now, I am at peace with a leaner closet. More closets remain, but they'll be easier now that the first one has survived a purge.

Does your stuff tell a story about your family's history? Did you consciously collect your stuff? Or did it seem to appear in bits and pieces over the years?

So tell me. What do you need to get rid of in your life?