While cleaning out all this “stuff” in preparation for the move, I discovered that I was not throwing away, I was shifting “stuff” from one place to another. Saving things and packing them up again. Things I haven’t used in years and years and years and will probably never use again. Things I shipped to Africa and 8 years later shipped home.
Why do we save things we will never use? Because most of us were brought up to be thrifty. This supposedly positive value is probably more responsible for cluttering up our homes than anything else.
We save clothing that’s too good to throw away but hasn’t fit in the last 10 years; shoes we purchased when we were still wearing high, high heels, but make our feet and legs ache far too much to wear them now; knick-knacks that people gave us for gifts that have no use or meaning at all except that a special person gave it to us. We have things we bought for others that for some unknown reason we didn’t give to them and it’s too late now. Things that broke, but could have been repaired. We have the piece to the thing that broke, but now we can’t find the thing. However, the minute we throw the piece away, the thing will reappear, so we save the piece, just in case.
Why can’t we turn loose? Why not just throw it away? Because people in China are starving! And even though they haven’t starved since we were children, they might. We might too. Not likely in the near future, but just in case.
While looking at all this “stuff”, a new feeling comes over us. We shouldn’t buy anything else until we use up all this old stuff. There are the medicines we saved in case we might get sick again. When you think about how much money you spent on it, you almost feel like you should get sick again, just to use up the rest of it. Then, you could also eat all the left over soup that is frozen in the freezer…just in case.
So we shouldn’t buy and we shouldn’t toss. Therefore, we should be frugal and save. So we clutter. In order to unclutter, we must buy materials for more shelves and the tools to build them with.Then we will have more places to put the stuff we don’t need in the first place.
What can we do? We can change our attitude. Think abundance instead of poverty. Changing means accepting that saving stuff is not a virtue. Saving glass jars, aluminum cans, newspapers, magazines, clothes that don’t fit, and furniture that takes up too much space is not commendable. Taking them to a recycling plant is. Keeping old things that we do not use does not help anybody. Giving them to a shelter for battered women or homeless men or people reentering the job force will help people…people who could use and appreciate having those things that most of us not only take for granted, but wish we were rid of. In the case of clothing you don’t wear, for goodness sake, give it away while it is still somewhat in style. Someone will appreciate getting it.
Let’s take that first step and clean up the space we now occupy. If we can clean up our stuff, we may also be able to clean up the world and save it… just in case.
Judi Moreo is an author, speaker, and professional mentor. To inquire about Judi’s services or products, call Turning Point International (702) 283-4567.