Where to start?
How does a person begin getting rid of the extras in their lives? Is there a way to smooth the process… or a way to make it go faster?
I’m certain I don’t have all the answers to these questions. The easiest and most common answer I’ve come across is move. As in, pack it up and carry it all to another location. Having experienced this task numerous times, I can pretty much guarantee that this process will eliminate a few things due to breakage… and many more due to exhaustion. Looking at the 351st box, I begin to think, “What was in here? Is it really worth moving?” And decide that really, it doesn’t. Not if there’s energy involved in relocating it. And of course there’s the scientifically proven fact that our stuff expands when it hits the light–that’s why hangars multiply, why huge dust bunnies suddenly appear when we move the sofa, and why when we move, even from a smaller space to a larger space, our things don’t all fit in the newer space.
So I now tell myself I’m moving to a smaller space. The first step of this game is not to buy things I won’t use often or can’t do without. For me this is a combination of frugality and consciousness-I’ve promised myself that for every item I buy (that doesn’t replace something I already had) I will donate three like items already in my house. I used to box things up. If I reopened the boxes to look for something within a year, I kept that item. If I didn’t, then all the boxes headed to the thrift store. Now I’ve discovered an easier way (for me, at least). I put all my clothes on ugly wire hangars. As I use them, I put them on nice plastic hangars. The clothes still on wire hangars after a season are donated. Anything in the back of the closet or cabinets also indicates a non-used item. Those things are also donated.
Those processes take time, about a year for the first round and then more time ever year after. Recently one more trick was made evident. Craigslist and local freecycle groups are wonderful clearance centers. I joined not so I could obtain things, but so I could list things for sale. I refuse to read the sale ads myself, but if I have difficulty letting go of an item, listing it for sale through the group either lets me know that no one else wants it (and thus lessens my emotional attachment) or helps me sell it at a good profit. And that, to me, is something worth considering.