My Stuff! My Stuff!
I have to deal with my stuff!
On Christmas Day, 2013, when it was 20 below, I gave up my apartment, put everything I owned in a storage unit, and packed up my clothes, bike and music gear in my van, and headed South.
My belongings were in storage for over three years, the whole houseful of furniture, kitchen goods, memories, books, records, all of it. It started out as a cross-country journey of discovery that was meant to last less than six months, but lasted so long due to health issues and the associated financial challenges that left me with no way to manage a permanent home.
During those years, I had to dig into that storage unit a hundred times, moving things around, climbing stacks of dusty boxes, often in the cold of a northern winter, just to find the one thing I actually needed at the time.
I had such a feeling of sadness for not having an actual residence, moving around the country, staying with friends and relatives, renting a room here and there, loading my poor old van over and over with tubs of things I use daily, suitcases with all my clothes in them, my bike, my music gear for gigging and my ever-present food box.
It was so many things at once: adventurous, yet lonely; enriching (spiritually) yet expensive. Yes, paying monthly storage rent in order to hang onto so much stuff, for so long, is expensive, but we think we have to hold onto it because we will need it eventually. All we are doing by hanging onto those things is telling the Universe that we are pretty sure we will be too broke in the future to buy what we do actually need.
When you think about it, that’s not such a good vibe to be throwing out there.
For me, after doing without even my “precious” things for three years -treasures, photo albums, memorabilia, gifts - it was pretty obvious I didn’t need them, either. The memories, the experiences, the relationships with those who’d given me those gifts, all lived in my heart and mind. I didn’t need the actual, physical thing.
A digital photo of it would do just fine.
For the past couple of years, all I could think about every morning as I awoke was trying to find a way to get that stuff out of storage, clean it up and get rid of much of it. It was SUCH a heavy burden on me every single day, it actually KEPT me in that ‘sad’ state.
Even trying to make a decision about where to “light” became paralyzing because I had all this crap in a storage unit that was only getting older and dustier and would be harder to deal with as time went by, and harder to move. Though I desired to move out of state, I feared having to either move all that stuff (spendy!) or trying to deal with it in a parking lot, rather than an actual home where I lived and could go through it methodically without worrying about the weather.
My personal growth journey included a lot of trauma the past year, culminating with the death of my father in February and a couple of subsequent medical emergencies for me.
After my father died, I began the moving and purging process. I moved into an apartment near my storage unit and took it all out, a load at a time, a day at a time. It was so dusty — lots of cleaning, lots of lifting, lots of sifting.
But seeing that empty storage unit was such a relief, such a sense of accomplishment, such a welcome sight.
I have let go of more than half of my belongings, and I have no regrets. And, I still expect to let go of more. Even my treasured oak bedroom furniture is on the block, and it’s all the heavy stuff I have left. I gave over twenty boxes of things to the Salvation Army, sold some antiques and most of my other furniture, listed silly things like purses and a pretty pink colander on local Facebook garage sale sites (very effective!) and tossed a lot of things, too.
There is an energetic pull between us and our stuff — letting go of it helps us let go of the past. It makes us feel lighter, less distracted, more in tune with the nature of ourselves and more fluid in terms of going with the flow of life.
It’s truly remarkable.
Has it been easy? Nope. A lot of emotional growth. And a lot of work. But the stuff being gone has been truly freeing.
At 57 years of age, it seems odd to be whittling down my belongings to a small, easily moveable amount of things, but I am aware of the need to make space for the next chapter, for new ‘things,’ for joy and love, new adventures and better health as I no longer spend so much time, energy and money worrying about or dealing with my damn stuff.
It’s been a godsend for me to have this apartment, to be able to open boxes and actually use what I need (I have a real kitchen!!!) and see what I don’t need, but the lease is only for a year and I know I’ll be moving on again.
One thing I know is that it will be much easier to move, and most importantly, I’ll be open to what The Universe brings my way because I won’t be blocked by, “But my stuff! My stuff! I have to deal with my stuff!”
If anything I’ve shared here serves you in any way, give me a little ❤ and a follow, connect with me on Facebook here or drop me a comment if you’d like to learn more about painless downsizing! ❤