After my dad passed, my sister and I both inherited all of his possessions.
Imagine a man who kept everything - every single box to everything he had ever purchased - labeled, and stacked nicely in the garage.
A man who retired from his auto body business and jam packed as many of those tools into his 5 car garage as possible.
A man who was born amidst the Great Depression, whose parents taught him to hold on to what you have because the more things you possess the better off you'll be.
My dad liked his possessions, very much.
And maybe that's why it was so hard for us to let his things go. Of course when someone passes away, your natural instinct is to keep as much of their belongings as possible in this last ditch effort to hold onto them through their belongings, because maybe it will keep you closer to that person. Which was exactly what I did.
Over the last 9 years I've been able to let go of these items. Not all of them, but the majority of them. I could no longer justify holding onto pieces of clothing that I had packed away into tupperware 9 years ago - the shirt he wore to my high school graduation sat there for the past 9 years - why was I holding onto this? At the time my reasoning was fueled with grief, but now? I was ready to let go. I had photos from this day, and now that was enough for me.
Most of the items in that tupperware bin have since been donated - and what did I feel once they were gone? Nothing - because those items that I was holding onto were packed away, unable to be seen, and they didn't add any kind of value to my life today. I had moved that bin 6 times in the past 9 years, never doing anything with the contents. And for what? When that moment of clarity sunk in, and I finally decided to let go of those items, it was a relief seeing the bin emptied out, and gone.
I never would have been able to let go of any of my dad's items if I hadn't read this post. When I first started reading about minimalism, this was where I would go. I couldn't get enough information, I was reading about minimalism on so many different websites and blogs, that hours would pass when I thought it was only a few minutes.
When I'd take breaks from reading, I'd start evaluating our things. Second guessing every single nic-nac in our home and questioning myself on why I had bought it. Realizing how much time I spent every week dusting and cleaning around these items - which I really hated doing. Realizing it wasn't worth that $15 to just sit and look pretty collecting dust.
I brought all of this up because we are once again, moving.
And while I am stressing out like a crazy person over this move - I am really excited because it gives me the chance to go through all of our belongings and decide whether we need to keep it, or if we can let it go.
Even my husband is on board - he's already sold all of his gold mining equipment! This was huge for him. I've known him for over 8 years now, and not once has he used this equipment. He did at one point, and he held onto these items because 1. They were expensive to buy, 2. He loves gold mining and always dreams of doing it again, 3. Secretly wants to quit his day job and do it full-time like the guys on Gold Rush.
But after 4 years of me hinting to him that he hasn't used this equipment in years, and he's moved it around more than we can count, he finally was ready to let it go. And when he did? His words, "Wow the garage feels so much better without all that stuff in here." Laura - 1, Joey - 1. Win - Win.
I have started the packing process. We gave away our leather couches to some friends, because do we really need 2 living rooms, 2 sets of couches, 2 of everything? For us, the answer is no.
We've lived in this house for 18 months - and as I go through items prepping them for packaging, I've decided that any item that has not been used in that time will be going bye-bye. If we haven't used it in the past 18 months, we definitely can live without it. I will not pay more money than what is absolutely necessary to move our things.
Over the past month and a half I've been thinking a lot about minimalism. The value of items, these things we possess, the things we hold onto and tell ourselves they're valuable. The amount of money we spend year after year on stuff. It all adds up rather quickly. What are these things really the definition of valuable? Material value possibly, but I'm talking about emotional and spiritual value. That is what I'll be keeping in mind through this moving process.
I'm starting off this week also with a new outlook on food. If I can look at my possessions with a minimalist perspective - can I do this with my food as well? Think about it. I'll be talking about it more in my next post sometime this week, maybe next week. I'm kicking off this new "minimal" attitude in every aspect of my life.