The day came.
Where I knew I needed to go through my storage bins and pick and choose between all the items that I had a deep emotional attachment to. Either because of who gave it to me, the memory that was attached to it, or my heart to imagine how someone would feel if I got rid of a certain item (that last one is the people-pleaser in me.)
I opened up more of my childhood bins, more of the kids bins, more of memories I had been holding onto from material objects. The minimalists suggest taking pictures of very precious items that you hold memories onto but have no use for the item. You can always look at the picture and be reminded of your great memory, but you aren't stuck with the useless object. But, if it is a very meaningful piece, then by all means, KEEP IT!
Again, FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Don't be miserable, but also, challenge yourself. Make changes and grow, but don't get depressed as you do it. Find the balance in it all.
I opened up a bin of precious treasured items. All that I would NEVER have use for. But they were pieces all from someone I loved and cherished. How could I bear to throw away such priceless objects? I knew that they would forever stay in this bin and I would enjoy going through it every few years, but it would just be sitting in my garage collecting dust.
And as I made the decision to donate most of what was in the box, I cried. I might have bordered on weeping. I sat there, tossing each items slowly into my donation box and I just cried. Such sad tears.
My husband walked in and realized what a strong emotional attachment I had grown to these THINGS and he held me as I cried and encouraged me on the journey. I knew it was a moment of healing for me and time of growth. And by the end of it... I felt a little bit lighter. A little more free.
I got rid of a lot of bins that day.
And I still had many more bins to go through.
And I also realized that I had a lot of bins that I had chosen to keep. I had narrowed down my childhood memories to 1 bin. And I condensed the rest of my "memory" bins too. I had miraculously minimalized my Christmas bins down to only 2! The bins remaining made me see that I have a lot of passions and hobbies in life.
I love crafting. And I had literally 7-10 totes filled with random different craft supplies. Some that I have used before and some that I was hanging onto the off-chance that maybe I would venture into some of these unknown craft supplies once my kids were all out of the house. Hopeful thinking, I suppose. But the truth was, they had been sitting in totes for years and I had not touched them. And IF, by chance, I decided to take up being a seamstress one day, I really didn't need to keep everything. I donated and gave away many of my craft items. And hey, if I ever need supplies again, I can go to the store with a coupon and get some.
I also run a home-based business. I send lots of packages for it, with literature, gifts and supplies for the business. I need to have products and supplies on hand for that, which takes up a few more totes and desk space.
And then there are the gifts. Let me tell you about the gifts. So... I love giving gifts to people. And I've gotten in quite the habit of just shopping throughout the year and snatching things up when they are on sale and then I store them at home and "shop" through my totes when an occasion arises that I need a gift for someone. Or when I just want to randomly bless someone one day. I just always have neat gifts on hand. And so yah... that takes up about 5-10 more totes.
This is where the balance comes in for me. I want to live a more minimal lifestyle. And I also have 5 kids, run a home-based business, and have a hobby of crafting and "giving gifts." (Can that be an actual hobby?) I didn't even mention all my workout equipment. And my Etsy shop I run that I also have many items I am storing to be able to ship out to people who order from my shop. All things that I use on a weekly basis (if not daily).
So here we go, I got rid of a lot of the unnecsseary. The emotional attachments items. And the "just-in-case" items. And I kept the things that add value to my life and that I actually use.
And it is still a process. As I continue to unpack and declutter, I continue to get rid of things I have found myself not using. I am intentional about working toward breaking the bonds of sentimentalism to OBJECTS. And try to shape more of my focus to the people and places that really matter.
And when I keep my focus more on Jesus, it all becomes a bit more clear. When I try to be kingdom-focused and not earthly-focused, the paradigm shifts and it's a little easier to find my feet planted with purpose in my goals.
Let me end by telling you a story that I once heard that catapulted me into a more minimalist lifestyle.
One beautiful spring day, a son asked his dad to go outside and play with him. The dad said he would love to but he had to do some spring cleaning in the garage first. The son waited patiently for his dad and went about playing by himself. He played catch with himself for an hour or so and then went to check to see if his dad was ready to play with him. His dad was still busy cleaning up the garage and organizing all the outdoor furniture and belongings. The dad assured his son he would play with him as soon as he was done "spring cleaning" the garage.
A few more hours went by as the son played pleasantly in the back yard. So patiently entertaining himself, waiting for the moment his dad was ready to play with him. He checked in another time and excitedly asked his dad if he was all done. His dad was busy with the yard work and the organizing and cleaning out the boat. The lawnmower needed tuning. The summer toys needed cleaning. The garage needed to be swept. So a few more hours went by.
Soon, it was dark and then little boy watched his father tettering away in the garage, taking care of all of their belongings. He starting heading into the house and went to bed that night without getting to spend time with his dad all day.
The father finally finshed up with his tasks and realized his son had already fallen asleep. He spent his entire day just taking care of his STUFF and completely missed out on an opportunity to invest in his son and make memories. It was at this point that he knew something needed to change.
He worked so hard 50+ hours each to buy all these things and provide a "good life" for his family, when all they really wanted was him. And all he really wanted was them, but all the THINGS had gotten in the way. It was an ugly cycle of working harder to buy more things to spend more time taking care of those things, all in an effort to find that secret sauce of happiness.
When all along, it was waiting there right there in the yard, yearning to just play with him. Happiness.
(Sidenote: Obviously, I believe in responsibility and taking care of the things God has blessed us with. But my passion has been to find less value in OBJECTS and being more intentional with PEOPLE.)
*YL business, crafting, giving gifts- balance
*Story of man cleaning garage and kid wanted to play