Last year my husband and I completed cleansing our home, releasing nearly $5000 worth of clutter. We were left with bitter-sweet feelings, the freedom of letting go, the regret of stuff no longer owned.
For the most part, regret has left. But freedom? It continuously grows. There is liberty in a less-cluttered life, something I expected to happen, and have truly grown to love. But what I didn’t expect was this: I have become addicted to a life of minimalism.
It was just over two weeks ago. My husband and I stepped into our garage, intending to clean, something we had avoided since we moved in three-and-a-half years ago. We picked through nails and tools, and made plans to buy containers. Then it hit. Wasn’t this the very life we were trying to leave? Did we really need containers for things we would probably never use?
Another cleanse began. We dumped tools, gadgets, a fridge and a flag. Then we moved inside and let go of more, a telescope, a set of dishes, and other miscellaneous items.
As we made one more trip to Goodwill, I thought about our stuff, and wondered how we missed those items the first time. Then I remembered the first time we had cleansed, and the struggles we had in letting go. We were different people then.
Maybe we hadn’t been ready before. But we were today.
Here is the list created last year. In italics you will find the more recent items we have released. This is not a confession, but I place it before you as inspiration. May you find freedom in a life less-cluttered.
Here is my list:
Hangers– How many, I don’t know, but once my husband and I cleansed our closet, the need for extra hangers was obsolete.
Workout Video – We won’t even go there.
Slippers, Tennis Shoes, Dress Shoes – Some we didn’t wear, some we owned way too many of, and, I’m embarrassed to say, one pair of tennis shoes I held on to just because they were pretty (never mind that the bottoms were worn out). We recently let go of five more pairs, three of which were at death’s door.
Clothes – I didn’t know we owned that many – Ripped shirts, shrunken pieces, old items no longer worn – we let them all go. I’m not certain how many items we let go of in the last couple months, but I do remember at least three sweaters, dress pants, old t-shirts, and a jacket I liked better in the closet than on my body.
Cd Covers – Why did we have these?
Martini Glasses – Not sure when or why we purchased these, considering we don’t drink martinis.
Chop Sticks – This is funny, since neither my husband nor I are coordinated enough to eat with a fork, let alone chopsticks.
Meat Pounder – I don’t know.
Hat, Jackets – Some barely worn. We still own too many.
Books, Movies, CDs – Books we will never read again; Movies we have outgrown; CDs – we own an IPod – need I say more? More books have left our home – some given to family, some to the thrift store.
Decorative Plates, Knick-Knacks, Trinkets, Vases – I hate little things decorating the house, they make me insane. Most of these items were already tucked away in boxes, so it was easy to let go.
Tie Clip – My husband received this item many, many moons ago, from his coaching days. It was time to let go, especially considering he never wears a tie.
Butter Dish, Napkin Holder, Candy Dish, Creamer – I will never use these. A ceramic beverage dispenser, large pretty plates, and a kombucha maker just made their way out the door.
Two Dressy Dresses – These were probably the most difficult items for me to release. They were dresses I wore to my sons’ weddings. The weddings were ten and seven years ago, and I haven’t worn the dresses since. It was time for someone else to enjoy them, though they may be out of style by now.
Purses, Ties – Unused, unneeded.
Cookbooks – Some given to the thrift store, some to my daughters-in-law.
Table Runner – I don’t know why I owned this.
Desk, Shelf, Patio Umbrella, Craft Table, Work Bench – Letting go of big items freed-up space in our home. A large tool (don’t ask me to name tools or describe them), a table for a saw, a flag, a large shelf, two small dressers, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Never mind the last one – I may still own that.)
Curling Iron – Once upon a time, in another life, I used this.
Craft Items – Beads, and all things that go with jewelry making; Embroidery hoop and yarn; Card making items – blank cards, glues, etc. These were a little difficult to let go, yet I felt stressed each time I thought about them, knowing I didn’t have time to work on anything. It’s a subject I will delve into another time.
Spice Jars – Really, how many jars does one couple need? More spice jars. Yup, we had a lot. These last ones were used to hold nails in the garage.
Dust Pan, Laundry bins, Garbage Can – These were no longer needed in our new home.
Sandals – Goes with the shoes – too many. I found out I only have two feet.
Pedometer – Never going to track how many steps I take. Never, never, never.
Frames – With nothing in them. More frames.
Toaster, Crockpot – We no longer make toast. It’s a whole diet/allergy issue. Again, another subject for another time. The crockpot, I admit, is something I’ve missed more than once. But at the same time, it’s one less large item to store, and I will never have to replace it.
Exercise Ball and Pump – This is the only item I gave away that I actually ended up buying again. It seems it kept me in better shape than I knew. It takes up a lot of space, but I decided that the space is worth my health.
Fifteen Photo Albums – I tossed blurry old pictures, duplicates, and goofy photos we didn’t like. The fifteen photo albums were now only four large ones (that took up a lot less space).
Rug – Unnecessary. Plus two smaller rugs.
Twelve Reusable Grocery Bags – They are always giving these away somewhere, especially at holiday time. I’m learning to say ‘no.’
Two Game Systems – We kept Wii, for the child in us.
Two Aquariums and Miscellaneous Items – When taking care of fish became more of a chore than a hobby, my husband decided it was time to let it go.
Lamp – Part of the move – no longer needed.
Robes – How many does one person need?
Christmas Stuff – Lights, decorations, ornaments, they were all released. No regrets – not even one. One more subject for another time.
Cookie Scoop, Frying Pan, Kitchen Utensils – So easy to collect kitchen items. My husband enjoys buying them for me more than I enjoy receiving them. I finally had to tell him to stop (I told him nicely). Large pretty plates we never used.
Two Coolers – How did we get so many? Heaven only knows.
Two Fans. – We were already cool. (Sorry, couldn’t pass that one up.) A large shelf and a television antenna.
Necklaces, bracelets, dresser knobs, candles and holders, other miscellaneous tools and kitchen items. Plus, two dressers, an armoire, a grill, a fridge, and a telescope.
This is not the whole list. But it does give you an idea of the types of items one can let go of.
My life will always be a continuous motion of cleansing. Isn’t that what life is, releasing the old, discovering the new?
What will you release today? Where will you find your freedom?