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In the last five years I have had to let go of so much “stuff” in my life, both materially and emotionally. We went from living in a 2200 square foot home, to first a 900 square foot apartment, and currently an 1100 square foot condo. If there is one thing I have definitely noticed in our many times of moving, that is how much “stuff” we manage to accumulate in a relatively short period of time.

Now, I love to craft with paper,  therefore, the closet for which I designated  my “craft storage”, is always bursting at the seams. I save tons of scrap pieces of paper in case I may need them in some future project. I have purged several times but, alas, it has become an endless cycle of getting more and then getting rid of some.  Needless to say, I am always having to purge. Also, when I am trying to decide what to give away or toss out, I struggle with the voice in my head telling me to keep something because I “may need that one day”. That day really never comes. I just have an inherrent weakness for pretty paper.

My mom had a thing for empty boxes. Whether it was a shoe box, or postal delivery box or even those flat boxes that a case of soft drinks used to be sold in, would inevitably be saved,  just in case she needed a box that size in the future. I would find empty boxes of all sizes everywhere in her house. We laugh about this now, but, I started thinking of how those empty boxes can represent why we keep things in the first place. I think, we have many “empty spaces” inside our hearts and minds that searches for things to fill it. Holding on to “stuff” can be comforting when growing older. Even if we never use them anymore, knowing we still have them, gives us a kind of stability of sorts. But really all it does is keep us bound. Hanging on to things we no longer need or use, can bring clutter and sometimes chaos into our lives.

Now, I am not speaking of memorabilia or keepsake items. I make cute boxes myself to keep those in. (Shameless plug for my paper crafting business) I am thinking of clothes that no longer fit, a set of old pots shoved into the back of a shelf, old newspapers or paperback books that you have already read twice. Things I had to purge from my own kitchen because of the lack of space to store them, are a set of glass bowls, utensils I never used but kept in case I wanted to use them some day, pans in duplicate sizes and drinking glasses, and coffee mugs from every kind of gift-giving, prize-winning event. I had to let go of clothes that I kept for that magical day I would fit into them again. I assessed our coat closet and seriously wondered why I had a coat for every possible weather event. I donated a big heap to a coat drive our church was having.

As I began to let go of all the material stuff in my life, I noticed that it made a difference in how I was feeling on the inside. The empty spaces I thought I was filling with stuff I possessed, was now being filled with a satisfaction of knowing someone else might enjoy and even value those things that once belonged to me. I don’t miss anything I have given away, and in fact, I barely remember them. Having less does not mean I lack anything. It in fact, feels like I have so much more. My life feels less cluttered and a little more orderly. Oh, and let’s not forget, I also have a lot more space.:)