I’ve been talking about this passion to gather experiences over stuff and how to make that happen. I’ve started paying much more attention to things and have actively worked to not accumulate more things…I don’t always succeed but it has lessened over the last couple of years and has gone hand in hand with purging. Is it enough? Not sure…

We have a love affair with our “stuff.” We rent apartments to house our stuff. We buy houses to house our stuff. We get storage units, bins and boxes for our stuff…and there it sits. Unused, neglected, and gathering dust. If this is an accurate picture of your life with your stuff, I have to ask: If it sits unused, neglected and gathering dust, why do you need it? What purpose does it serve?

There are many theorists out there who have pontificated mightily on this very thing – from “if you haven’t worn it in six months” to “only have out in your home the things you love” to million dollar shows about clutter, hoarding, cleaning and simplifying. Does it interest you that Americans spend 9 million hours looking for their “things?” Have you turned your hangers around so you can see exactly what you are wearing and get rid of the items you don’t?

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You probably are shaking your head saying, “but this is my life. It’s my memories. I’m not giving it away.” Okay, cool. I just ask that you think about it. Let’s play what if…

What if we didn’t buy that cute shirt just because it’s on sale?

What if we didn’t keep that program from our sixth grade graduation that had our name misspelled?

What if we didn’t have an attic/garage full of stuff and we turned that into a space to hang out with friends and family?

What if we gave back to our community through donations – books, clothes, food, furniture – to help those in need?

What if we just stopped? No more accumulation of stuff…buy it and use it, or don’t buy it. Put it out and visible or don’t keep it.

Yes, this is hard. and bold. and seemingly unsentimental. And it’s sentimentality that got use here with a garage full of stuff, so much so that I don’t know what’s out there…having moved some of it multiple times.

You may know that awareness can be the first step to change. Often we sail through our lives not really paying attention to the detail. How many of you remember when the person you liked in school drove a certain kind of car, and once you noticed they drove that car, that car was suddenly all over the place? Well, that car was always all over the place, you just had no reason to care before. Once we start to notice, change can happen.

Look around your space right now. What’s in it? (If you are not in a personal space, take a minute to do this once you get to one.) Is it practical? Usable? Nice to look at? When was the last time that item affected your life?  Do you love it? Hate it? Not care about it? Does the space feel comfortable or cluttered?

Is there something in this space you could easily remove from your life? Why not do it now? Why not do that for the next five weeks. And when you take your trips over the next five weeks (sign up for my publication to see what that’s all about), you can pick up one item that really speaks to you and proudly display it.

That’s what I am going to do. I want to continue on my decluttering because there will be a handful of things I will gather from my travels – a post card, a cultural icon, a memento – that cannot be captured in another way. I want to have room for these few items without having to stuff it onto an overcrowded shelf.

Share in the comments what you removed and how it made you feel. Do you think this will make a difference in your life?

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