I'm not sure if it's the Marie Kondo (author of the New York Times bestseller, The Life-Changing Joy of Tidying Up) effect or if more Americans are recognizing they might have too much stuff, but I've read a lot of articles recently about people's experiences with letting go of some of their possessions. This excerpt from an article written by Irene Panke Hopkins in the April 2017 issue of Real Simple magazine really expresses how difficult and freeing the experience can be.
The author and her husband decided to sell their home and live on a boat, which meant a significant amount of downsizing would need to occur in order to make that happen. Hopkins shares a story about letting go of a parasol that a dear friend who had recently passed away had given her:
Although the parasol remained in its decorative box at the bottom of my closet, I struggled with selling it. When the woman opened it up and the sun shone through its beautiful red, translucent fabric, it was too much. I headed toward her, not knowing what I would say.
"What are you thinking about using that for?" I asked, trying to sound merely curious.
"I'm a teacher," she said. "I need decorations for my section on Japan, but my budget doesn't cover them." She smiled, twirling the parasol over our heads. "This is perfect!" I could almost hear my friend whispering, "Give it to her." I did.
I began to understand the extent to which our possessions hold us captive and guilt us into keeping them. How much better it is to give them new life so they don't rot away in an attic or sit forgotten in a closet.
From then on, it became easier to identify and unload extraneous items. Each time I moved things out to the yard to sell or give to eager takers, I felt a burden lifting. The joy and freedom I experienced was the opposite of the grief I had expected.
What a powerful epiphany! This joy and freedom is exactly what I hope my clients experience as they shed the stuff that overwhelms and paralyzes them.
Is your stuff holding you captive? If so, contact me. I can help.