In my Sunday-morning newspaper-reading ritual, I read a column about people cleaning out closets, etc., prior to the holiday gift-giving binge.
It really got me thinking about stuff…the stuff in the house, the stuff in my closet, and on and on. I have spent a good part of the last year cleaning out stuff. I clean out a bunch of old toys from our basement. I cleaned out our linen closet and donated a garbage bag of sheets and towels. I spent a week cleaning out our storage closet and got rid of so much stuff that I didn’t even know we still had! I cleaned out my closet and finally gave up the ghost on a number of pieces that – well, let’s be honest, I’m just never going to either wear or fit into again.
Cleaning out things that we never use or didn’t even know we had was cathartic. I felt like a weight was lifted with everything that I gave away or pitched. As I purged, I found that I know had more convenient places to store the things that we do use regularly. And much of what I had to give away was still in great shape…often unused or used only once. So I had a good feeling that these things could get a second life with hopefully someone in need.
But then it came time make Christmas lists. And I struggled…what did I need? I just got rid of a ton of stuff that I didn’t need…but what did I now need? Honestly, nothing. So everyone in my family was annoyed that my Christmas list was so sparse…but again, I am trying to clean out and simplify.
For years, my mother had the world’s worst gift list. One year, for Mother’s Day, she actually asked for a Swiffer…really? My view is that if I can buy it at the grocery store, it’s not gift-worthy.
But now I’m starting to get it. As I get older, and continue to get more established in life, I found that I really didn’t need nearly as much, just like Mom.
So much of my gift list involves consumables…lotions, candles…things that I can use and they are then gone. But I no longer subscribe to the policy that “the one that dies with the most stuff wins…”