What is it about stuff?
We live in a culture dominated by the accumulation of more. Better stuff, bigger stuff, shiny stuff, stuff to impress others. I’m certainly no exception. Hello, my name is CurlyMama and I like stuff!
Recently my “niece” blogged about Project 333. You can read about it from her blog here. (The quotes around “niece” is simply because I find it funny that due to the timing of when my husband was born, many of his nieces and nephews are the same age or older!) After reading about Project 333, it got me to thinking. I am a purger by nature, but I’m also a shopper – and often the purging doesn’t quite keep up with the purchasing. Couple that with kids and their stuff, a husband who is definitely not a purger by nature (hello 4 bowling balls!) and we, like most people – end up with a lot of crap. Being in the military adds an additional component. We move at least every three years. Often it’s more than that. Do I really need to keep a prom dress from nearly 20 years ago, carting it from duty station to duty station just for the memory and sentimental value? Does the thing itself really hold all the sentiment? Or can’t my memory and pictures of that day suffice?
I think we hang on to things (I do, anyway) because of 3 reasons. Sentimental reasons, practical reasons, and “goals”. My prom dress, or jewelry, are the perfect examples of sentimental reasons. I don’t think we hang on to stuff because of the stuff itself, it’s the emotion to which it is tied. Practical reasons to hang on to stuff would be, “But I might use it ‘someday’…” I haven’t used it in 6 years, but someday, I just might. Practicality is good. I’m not gonna just throw anything out, but my rule of thumb is that if I haven’t used a thing or worn it in the last 3 years, it’s going. I’m obviously not going to use it.
And finally, the reason many of us hang on to clothes – it’s the goal. Goal clothes are the ones we hang on to as we are working to lose weight. I admit, I’ve had my share of “hopeless goal” clothes as well as “realistic goal” clothes. I find the realistic ones are the ones that are only 1 or 2 sizes away, while unrealistic goals are those random pieces that we may have inherited from a friend who is a size 2 and we are a 14. While not outside the realm of possibility, it’s more of a long term goal and that article of clothing is taking up space. Space in the closet, yes, but also space in our heads. As we look over that item every morning as we are getting dressed, do we think to ourselves positive thoughts, or thoughts like, “ugh, I’m never going to fit into that!” and mentally beat ourselves up over and over.
My friend Carrie mentioned a quote about being organized in your environment leading to a calmness and peace on the inside. It may sound a little “whoo-hoo-y,” but I believe there is a spiritual/emotional element to living in disorganization and chaos and drowning under too much stuff. Not always tangible, not always well-articulated, but it is there.
All this to say, I’m joining my niece and doing a version of Project 333 myself. Join us, won’t you?
(And mom, yes, I will be bringing it over for you to look through before it gets donated!)