Getting rid of personal items is really difficult. For the past month, I've been preparing to have hardwood floors installed on the second level of our house. I am very excited of course, but surprised at how much work we've had to do to prepare. It's like moving all over again. This process, however, has taught me a valuable lesson. More often than not, less is more.
Why do we accumulate all these materials possessions? I will take a stab at answering this very human and first world dilemma. Having things seems to soothe the soul. They make us experience fleeting moments of happiness. We can finally afford those pair of jeans, that purse, that couch, that car, even that super nifty Tupperware set on a late night infomercial. Our clothes, accessories, electronics, cars, books, furniture... are extensions of who we are. When we leave this life someday, these things will still be here. But they will no longer have any meaning because they were simply things that we gave meaning to and we thought gave meaning to us.
So over the past few weeks, I have been asking myself "do I really need this? When was the last time I wore it/used it?" Even when the answer has been really obvious - a resounding 'Get rid of it!' I have found myself clutching to the item, reliving when I last used it, where I was, and who I was with. Okay, maybe I'm more sentimental than most, but I've checked in with friends about this and they also find all too familiar. What I've learned in this process is that what really matters is having possessions that I absolutely love. I am not going to save that special pair of shoes or fancy frying pan for an extraordinary occasion. I will use it now, while I'm here and alive. I will use the heck out of it and then when it needs replacing, I will buy something new. For the things that don't bring me happiness and/or make my life easier - I am giving those things away. Perhaps they will make someone else happy.
Collecting material possessions is like holding on to the past. We cannot cling to the past because we truly only have today. So like we keep the great memories of yesteryear and do away with the rest, we can move towards keeping only the possessions that truly make us happy and make life easier. Remember less is more. No one will remember us for all the wonderful things we had. They will remember us for all the wonderful things we did to make the world a better place.