One of the hardest things about getting rid of stuff I don’t use or need is that a lot of times, that stuff I don’t use or need was a gift from someone I care about and I don’t want to insult anyone by getting rid of things they gave me.
I’ve been carrying around a gorgeous glass chess set that my brother got me for Christmas when I was 12 for twelve years and I haven’t played a game of chess in probably five. I just carry it around with me and stick it in a corner.
That’s just one example.
I have an old laptop computer my parents bought me when I went to college in 2006. I have every flower my boyfriend has given me, dried and in a vase and gathering dust because how on earth do you dust such a fragile item? I have ornaments and collectibles and stuffed animals and all manner of stuff and things that just get moved and organized from box to box, dwelling to dwelling.
But no more, I say!
I am taking an honest and frank look at the things I have. And it’s hard, because when I start going through my Rubik’s Cube collection, my sister shrieks, “You can’t get rid of that one, I got that for you!” When I mention getting rid of things, my boyfriend comments, “None of my gifts, right?” When I purge my closet, my mother asks “Are you getting rid of anything I bought for you?”
I know I am not going to be happy in my new place if I have to take stuff just for the sake of having stuff. What am I going to do with it? I have 500 square feet to work with, and that doesn’t leave a lot of space for knick-knacks and decorative items. A few, yes. All, no way. I cannot fit those things into my new place. My priorities have changed. I want to live more simply, and I want to live for myself. I feel like I have the burden of caring for other people’s gifts — things that I didn’t need in the first place and do not need to be happy — for the sake of the gift-givers’ happiness. What’s up with that?
Side note: I am allowing myself one box of sentimental “stuff” that I am willing to store in my new place. One box. If it’s too full, I will have to make some cutbacks. In the box so far is a stuffed animal I have had since I was a child, a box of souvenirs from my dad’s travels to other countries, a baby blanket from when I was born, and some other things that I can’t remember and so probably don’t matter.
The purge continues!