Strip Away Stuff

Enough is a feast.

Buddhist Proverb

Ever thought you need more storage space or a bigger house so you can organize all your stuff?

You are not alone. But I learned through experience that buying more space is not the answer.

It all started one rainy weekend at home. My husband decided to risk his life and venture into the dark depths of our junk-crammed storage closet looking for a forgotten tax file. Stretching up high to an overloaded shelf he pulled on a box.

Thwack!

A plastic singing bass slapped him in the face.

“We need more storage space! We need more shelves!” he screamed.

Soon we had to sell that house, and our real estate agent spoke those dreaded four words, “You need to…” Oh no. Wait for it. “You need to… declutter.

Aaaargh! So much stuff. So little time.

Digging through all our possessions, I was shocked at how much junk we collected over the years. Expensive junk. What was I thinking? I hardly even used this stuff. Then it hit me like a runaway U-Haul.

We don’t need more storage. We need less stuff.

So we had a garage sale. We sold a jumble of ugly, old furniture teetering in the garden shed. Et voila! We reclaimed an entire outdoor room of storage space. We recycled magazines, and finally I could dust under the coffee table. We gave away clothes. We donated books.

Giving felt great. It created space. And whenever I wondered who would most need the things we wanted to give away, the perfect person would magically show up.

Like my neighbor, Bettina.

A year earlier she lost her only child to a brain tumour; her precious, luminous ten year-old daughter. After a year of unimaginable grief, I recently heard that Bettina and her husband were in the process of adopting twin toddler daughters. Maybe they need some toys, I thought, as I tripped over a Fisher Price farmyard pig. I called her over.

Bettina took one look at the sea of puzzles, princess toys, ponies, and girly paraphernalia. “Thank you so much,” she sobbed. And she pulled me into a bear hug.

I was shocked. I felt so unworthy. To me this was stuff the kids no longer cared about. Closet cloggers. To Bettina it was hope; hope of a home filled once more with the laughter of a child. Hope that grief would loosen its grip. Hope of happiness.

I realized that for Bettina, accepting the toys was an act of great courage. It was her way of opening up her heart. Daring to love again. Embracing vulnerability.

“Thank you,” she said again, and her gratitude made me glow.

A simple act. A powerful reaction.

As we move through life, stuff can weigh us down. Assets can become liabilities: Extra stuff to stress about. Extra stuff to store.

Giving can free us. And it reminds us of who we really are.

We are not our possessions. We are not a big house with a granite kitchen, a media room, and a double-car garage. We are not a new car with leather seats and a wood dash. And no, we are not a plastic, singing bass. (Thank goodness).

We are not stuff.

We are love and light and joy.

Stripping away our stuff felt so good that we decided to keep going. We sold more stuff. We packed 8 bags and our fishing rods, and we moved to a tiny tropical island with our two kids and our geriatric cat.

Join us on our adventure as I share the pearls of wisdom I found along the way. I hope I can light a little spark in you and help you find your path to peace and joy.

Live light and live happy,

Karen

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2 thoughts on “Strip Away Stuff

  1. What a beautiful post. It is definitely challenging to live life on the edge by living simply and not having our stuff own us. I do think it’s worth the challenge, though. It’s against the grain of the culture and it’s not popular, and I quite often feel like the odd one out. But I think I am better for it. This was well said. Looking forward to more of your posts.
    -M.

    • Thank you so much for the positive feedback. Those like you who choose to strip away stuff know how liberating it can be. Words can be powerful, but I think our actions speak louder. People will watch you living a simple life and, though they may judge at first, you will help them on their journey in ways you may never know. I am so happy you enjoyed my post!

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