Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stuff. Enough?

I like stuff. 

I collect stuff.  Mostly sunflowers and shoes.  Oh, and there's the purses and the roosters.  And the kids papers.  And coffee mugs.  And, oh so much more.
I thought I got control over my stuff when we moved off the mountain and we had to clean out the basement. Filled with stuff that people gave us.  After weeks of cleaning out, we figured out that sometimes people give you stuff as a polite way of you hauling it away so they don't have to. We just kept taking stuff, piece by piece because we MIGHT need it some day.

We teach our kids to like stuff, too.  What, you don't believe me? Count their books, happy meal toys, Nerf guns and footballs. 

There isn't really anything wrong with stuff, I guess.  But recently I've been struck with wonderment- why all the stuff?

We don't really need it, do we?  So why do we want it?

I think we want stuff because it reminds of something.  Either something we miss, or something we're longing for.  

We hang on to birthday cards and elementary report cards. We keep our baby's clothes.  Yes, I'm confessing I have Shayne's "home from the hospital outfit" and his first cowboy boots.  I have the shirts my babies wore when I picked them up from the social worker.  I have all of their pacifiers and favorite blankets. 

There is some stuff that is priceless.  Stuff we touch, smell or just look at and are immediately taken back to a time and place.  So, we hang on to the stuff afraid that getting rid of the stuff equals erasing the memories.  

As parents age and things change, we, adult kids find ourselves having to make decisions about their stuff.  It feels wrong not to grab it all up and move it into our own homes- where we can keep it safe.  We don't want strangers touching it.  But the truth is, the stuff can't live and breath.  If it isn't use able, most likely it will just collect dust in new spaces.  It can't bring comfort that we are desperately searching through boxes to find. 
So we pick through it carefully for what is special, important, use able and will bring memories to life for a few more years.  Favorite mugs, goofy pictures, magnets and furniture.   The rest, we'll have to let go even when tempted to hold on. 

So,  I'm thinking I'll go through some of my own stuff, and if I ain't a gonna wear it, use it, cook in it, see it everyday or put it in a scrapbook, I might just let go a little early so my kids don't feel obligated to pack it up one day and move it to their own place.

Stuff- got some?

Here's just a couple ideas how to purge through some of it:

Cards- anniversary, birthday, Christmas, etc.  -  A few years ago, after moving 3-4 boxes of cards from house to house I decided that I didn't need all of them.  I went through each one- and if there was a special or unique message in it, I kept it.  If not, I kept the last card received from my hubby, parents, best friends, etc. 
Memorabilia- trinkets that are really more trash than treasure but still conjure up fond memories- take a picture of them and make a scrapbook.  It's much easier to flip through the pages than to dig through boxes and boxes, and the memories fit nicely.

Kitchen gadgets- how many spatulas and 2 qt. baking dishes does one person really need?  Purge people, purge.

Baby/kids clothes- sports jerseys- etc?  Make a quilt with the pieces you can't bear to part with and wrap up in the memories.  Everything else- donate.  I guarantee somebody is looking for your used stuff. 
Happy Wednesday, and happy purging y'all!

Got an idea on purging stuff- I'm all ears, please leave me a comment and share!

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