Letting Go of Stuff

Book shelves tossed with books and figurines above Laurie's computer desk
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Believe it or not, this hutch now has LESS than half of what it did before. How weird, that even when you remove things, the spaces still seem filled.

Where did all this darn stuff COME from?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that stuff can weigh you down. Physical stuff, i.e., possessions, can have an impact both on time and mental outlook. Having a cluttered environment is something I’ve tended to do, ever since I was a youngster. I always thought, I was just distracted, or I’d rather do something other than clean up. Now that LAST statement is true, but I discovered over time it is more than that.

Just as part of my weight gain was unconsciously to cocoon and to keep myself separate from the perceived risk of getting close to hurtful “others”, having lots of “things” made me feel safe. But an over abundance of anything, even cute stuffed animals, can also make you feel smothered. I tended to love to buy souvenirs not only from trips, but from any time I actually felt happy or had fun. And I didn’t buy just one. Just like eating the whole bag of chips, I felt if one thing was good, several were better.

I spent money on crap.

I also spent money on some fine things! And I admit some of those things still give me pleasure. When I first moved to California, I bought my first Fitz and Floyd Kittens of Knightsbridge Vintage Victorian collectable creamer at the gift shop by Knotts Berry Farm. I LOVED the colors, the cat, and that it was a WORKING cream pitcher. At the time, I could have used:

  • A JOB
  • Groceries
  • Rent
  • Medical
  • Gas

But I was spending my limited savings going to an amusement park (fun!) and buying fancy cat cream pitchers!

WTF?

Well, it was scary moving to California with no pot to piss in. It was scary not knowing anyone – except the horrendous fellow I got involved with. It was scary to be for the first time totally on my own.

So, what better thing to do, than go on roller coasters and buy china?

See, food isn’t the ONLY distraction I’ve used in my life to not deal with painful realities. It’s just the MAIN one.

My Treasure List

You can see in the featured image at the top of this blog post, that my entire collection of Fitz and Floyd Kittens of Knightsbridge Vintage Victorian collectables are STILL intact after yesterday’s stuff purge. They line the top shelves there. Why didn’t I get rid of them?

Because every time I see them, or clean them or touch them, they make me smile.

NOTICE, I still:

  1. Notice Them i.e., SEE them (some of my stuff is invisible to me)
  2. Clean Them (I take time to keep them up and don’t resent it)
  3. Spend Time with Them (I actually stop most days to admire and enjoy them)

This is my equivalent to my principles for Intuitive Eating. It’s Intuitive Stuff Purging.

I no longer want to see clutter. I want to have a serene feeling in my home. I no longer wish to spend time cleaning, moving or arranging things, no matter HOW CUTE, or WHO gave it to me, that I don’t super enjoy or doesn’t have practical value. (Defined by I ACTUALLY use said item).

Note: The Brave Tiara gift by Suz, does NOT go on my crap list, as it meets all of the criteria of my Treasure List. I LOVE it, I don’t mind caring for it, I wear it often, and seeing it makes me smile. A Worthy item to have in my home. Also, the super special quilt from Amy is a treasure worth caring for as well. (And it fits GREAT on my bed).

Hard Choices

Yesterday, as I wrote in my status, I cleaned AND I went through my computer desk and hutch. I donated many, many books I had loved, but that I knew I would not read again. I likewise gave up DVDs of movies that were the same. But hardest of all was giving up the stuffed animals from Germany. I had purchased them the last trip I went there with my dad, who LOVED to speak German. I loved those animals, they were popular in Germany and Mark and I watched these cartoons to practice German prior to this trip. But I didn’t love cleaning them, moving them, and seeing them didn’t make me happy. I realized I could remember the wonderful trip with my dad WITHOUT these stuffed animals. The items themselves had no value. It was only memories. The items had become a clutter burden.

I won’t lie, I cried to donate them. But like ripping a bandaid off, once I returned home from having done the deed I felt light as air.

Some kid will enjoy these animals. I will enjoy the space on my shelves. I will enjoy the few minutes NOT vacuuming them will give.

Small changes.

Room to breathe.

Letting go.

Mahogany dining table with daffodil bouquet

My table has now remained clear for 3, count ’em, 3 days! Shown here with my daffodil reward.

Comments box:

12 thoughts on “Letting Go of Stuff

  1. Cheryl

    Proud of you, girl! And I love the purple place mats on your table. It looks very Springy.

    I’ve read a few organizing books as I have issues like yours, too. One thing I thought was really helpful and we’re going to try it this spring when we clean. That was to take a PICTURE of something you love but isn’t used (and may even be in storage), fix the picture to a scrapbook page, then write, beneath the picture, a description and a story about where you got it and why it’s special to you. The author suggested that sometimes we just hold onto things because we fear forgetting the special memories that go with it.

    So I’ve decided to try that. I will do a half dozen things I’m not particularly bent on saving and try it first before I get really serious about it. But it sounds like a good idea to me.

    Reply
  2. Dawny

    I too am compulsive in many ways in my life. If one is good then three (one in every color) HAS to be better???
    I traded my eating for shopping as I lost weight. Creating a debt im working really really hard to get out of now.
    At the time I justified it by the fact of wanting new clothes. Buying clothes because I could. Grabbing stuff off the rack Cuz I could n it’s fits n that was not the case when I weighed 415#
    However….. Looking at it now I really was trading one compulsive obsessive behavior for another
    Why buy 1 magazine subscription when you can buy 10 ha!

    Thanks for sharing your revaluations

    I too love how the decluttering enriched my feeling of peace and tranquility.

    Great job letting go.

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      LOL Dawny, I’m laughing with you since I so relate. Once I could shop in the regular stores and ALL of the pants fit, oh my goodness, did I buy a bunch. EVEN when I was on the way down and wouldn’t even have time to wear them all. I was so used to just buying whatever actually fit (or came close) to fitting me, without regard to what color or style, that having choice in clothes was like fashion crack! And I do it with other things too. If I like the blueberry jam, I should buy ALL available flavors. Can’t decide? Get them ALL! One of each please, my favorite phrase at the buffet AND the gift shop. It is the one thing I wish I could tell my young self, “Stuff doesn’t make you happy! Save your money and go on adventures. Make memories. Love people, not things”. Stuff all takes so much time and energy in the end. Even if you leave it alone, the mental energy of thinking about “What you SHOULD be doing with it” is as bad or worse as actually caring for all of our things.

      Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      That is a tough one, as we can’t do one darn thing about another person’s attachments. That can’t be logic’ed away anymore than our eating issues can. It is tough when it impacts us though. Tricky to own your truth and feelings while accepting their reality is their reality. All I can do is send hugs and sympathy. xoxoxoxoxoxox

      Reply
  3. Sue

    Well done. My hubby tries to threaten me with clearing out a whole load of books etc. It provokes a huge response in me. I have various craft stuff I have accumulated over the years but I go in phases with doing different types. It may have been 20 year since I last did cross stitch for instance, but I completed two items in the autumn that i had started, but not finished many years ago. I have this difficulty with throwing things out that might be of some use someday by somebody.

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Hi Sue, I think that is a very common feeling of “not wanting to waste” food, books, craft items, whatever. I think it is in our DNA! What I’ve had to allow myself to do, is like with tossing food from my plate if I am no longer hungry, to let things go unless I think I am very likely to make use of it in the next year. If I don’t LOVE the item and/or derive joy from seeing it, cleaning it, caring for it – I’m learning to trash, donate or give it to someone who can use it now. IF I will need a similar item in a few years, I can purchase something new. Same with my old clothes. Doesn’t fit now? Out it goes. If my size changes enough for new clothes, I will want current styles then anyway. This one is VERY hard. I have many clothes that were sentimental. It was hard to give away my WW goal evening gown. But I will never wear it again. It took up closet space and I have my photo of it. I think decluttering is mostly mental work and finding the sweet spot that allows you to let go what doesn’t serve you best. There is no perfect letting go rhythm or rule. It is quite difficult.

      Reply

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