This summer, I decided to take up biking again. For the past six years, my body had been primarily devoted to having and feeding babies. But with my youngest now two, it was time to get back out there. So, I took my bike in for a tune up and bought a few gadgets while I waited: those amazing padded pants so my tush didn't feel like it'd been through the blender the next day, a padded seat cover (because again, my precious tush), a pack that attached to the front handle bars, a new helmet, and a water bottle that fit into the holder. I hit the road three times that week, and it felt amazing.
Then, that weekend, my daughter asked me to get her kite out of storage. It was a rather blustery day, so I obliged. As I walked through the very neatly organized stacks of plastic bins, a label caught my eye: Biking Stuff. What?!? I'd forgotten I had this stuff! I opened the bin, and to my dismay, there were at least three of the items I'd just bought from the bike shop a few days before.
We've all put things on the shelf with the idea that someday we might need them again. We have a fear of letting go of things for that very reason- someday that thing that we spent our hard earned money on might be "needed" again. But, oftentimes, it's a lie we tell ourselves, and here's why...
Those high school skinny jeans that you might squeeze back into someday still hang in your closet. But, on the off chance that you actually do lose the weight required to peel them on, you realize they're out of style anyway. Plus it was hard work to lose the weight, so why not treat yourself to a new pair?
Your mother-in-law held on to the crib your husband slept in 30 years ago so she could use it for your children, her grandchildren, only to realize that new regulations about the slot width prevented it from being considered safe. She was heartbroken when you told her no child of yours would sleep in that death trap. (Lord only knows how we all survived.)
It's no wonder we hold onto things we "might need someday". The average US house size in 1973 was 1,660 square feet, and today it's 2,679. That's over a 1,000 sq ft increase in less than 45 years. Yet, we are having less children today than in the 70's. So, if not with more people, what do we do fill the extra space in our home with? We fill it with STUFF! Stuff to wear, stuff to entertain our children with, stuff we use, stuff we don't use, stuff we might need someday. But then stuff becomes clutter. Clutter that could have had a better life.
What if instead of holding on to those high school skinny jeans, you had donated them, before they went out of style? A young woman down on her luck wore them until they wore out. Those jeans didn't spend their life gathering dust in your closet, but gave joy to someone else.
Think about all the items in your home that could have a better life with someone else less fortunate, while you enjoyed the sanity of having a home less cluttered.
I'm warning you, though... This mindset will change your life. Once you let go of holding on to stuff, you'll start shopping differently, buying less stuff. You might even have more money to do something that makes you happy. Travel the world. Take your kids to Disney World. Because it's that "stuff" that is really worth holding onto.