Thursday, January 3, 2013

Updates from the Homestead and the Difficulties of Getting Rid of “Stuff”


Happy New Year!!!  My blogging has been so spotty lately. Seemed like so much going on for the holidays with friends and family coming and going. A few days after Christmas I decided it was time to take the tree down and put all the Christmas decorations away for the season. I always like starting out the New Year with my house in order.

New Year’s Eve was spent with just Tobin and me at home. Our children all had plans with their siblings and Tobin and I enjoyed ringing in the New Year quietly.



I’m currently involved in my yearly basement clean out project. This year I have been rather ruthless and driven when it comes to lightening up my belongings. Oh how many things I hang onto because somewhere in the back of mind I think.. hmm, I MIGHT use this again. 

During my clean out process I also discovered something interesting. I can see why it is people have such a hard time getting rid of things. And to a degree why people hoard. My first task was to clean out my bookshelves. I had a LOT of books from all my years of homeschooling. But, I am nearing the end of my homeschool career. I have 2 high school students and I figure I will be done in another year or two. So it was time to take a hard look at what I had and make some difficult choices. Of course I gave many books to my grandchildren. But most were given away to Goodwill or friends. With each book what I saw was not just a book, but memories of cozy winter evenings with my kids all piled up on my bed as we read book after book after book, I saw in some books the hope of the things that I wanted to do and did not do, I saw the missed opportunities to read this or that to my children (especially my youngest children) and it was now too late. The day after I went through the first set of books I had this urge to go back through them again. I kept thinking, maybe I don’t want to get rid of this or that. I resisted and now the books are gone and actually I feel so much better! But the emotional difficulties were something I never realized I would face when cleaning out books. 



I think the same is true for other things we store, not just books. It can be emotionally difficult to look at items that you don’t use, probably won’t use and even forgot you had until you opened the box and have to make a choice to give or sell them. What you see is not unwanted items but hopes, dreams, plans you had and/or memories. 




On the other hand deciding not to hanging onto to things and making choices to let go of hopes and dreams that most likely won’t happen frees up not only space but the burden of carrying around so much. I am the type of person that feels so much mental freedom when my load of “stuff” is light. Of course if I had concrete plans for using items, I would keep them, but the reality is much of what I was/am hanging onto is no longer used or needed. I guess this is also part of the change of seasons we walk through. 



As my husband said to me when I was wrangling with a few items… “You can’t take it with you.” How true is that? My desire is to keep what IS needed and to let go of items and hand them on to those who may actually get some use out of them and lighten my load at the same time. 



I’m almost done with the clean out and then I think it will be time to paint my basement. It drab and dreary down there and without so much to store it may not be such a hard task to move things around and makes improvements. A clean freshly painted basement will be a nice reward for this job!

 

4 comments:

  1. Dear Crystal,

    One of the things that has helped me over the years. Add a note or a tag to the items with a poem or just a thoughtful note that says you found the items helpful and you hope that they help the next person add your blog to the bottom and that gives the person it ends up with a way to contact you later and say thank you it has been such a blessing. If you do ever get these notes it becomes very easy to give to others. At one time our family had 6 storage units in the hopes that we would get back into a home one day. It has been almost 20 years and we have never got back into a home due to financial difficulties. I sent you a very large box at one time with one of these notes and I do hope you found the items useful. I hope that this note hopes as well. Also take a photo or have Sierra take photos of the items that are really hard to pass on. Often a photo was all I needed to let go.

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  2. Good idea,Robert. Thanks for the post,Crystal. It is relieving to clear the space. The only way to do it is to get it out of the house. I'm having a hard time with this, too. Not emotionally, yet, just getting past thinking how much there is, and will I ever get through it all! These kinds of thoughts freezes me and it's hard just to get started.

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  3. We don't have a basement, but we've been doing the same thing with possessions. I only have one child left at home and probably around 2 years of homeschooling left...I literally gave away a whole bookshelf of books. It was hard, but I did it.

    We also took several car trips worth of things to the Salvation Army. I do feel better about giving things away when I know they will be used.

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  4. Hi Crystal,

    Just curious as to how one may become a member of your little homesteading community. I have been watching for the new membership sign to change but I'm afraid that I may have missed it. Please let me know :D

    ~Heather~

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