Guest post by Kim White, WebDesignforWriters.com
It’s inevitable; as we get older we collect more stuff. But I’ve spent my adult life trying, and I think succeeding, in keeping my stone relatively moss-free.
When I was eleven, my mom, aunt, and all of us kids helped move my grandmother from a two-bedroom house into a modest, assisted-living apartment. My grandmother, a seamstress who worked out of her house, had collected a lot of stuff. As in wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling stuff. As in fabric, stuffing, threads, yarn, batting, binding, elastic, you-name-it stuff. Stuff filled every room including the bathroom. Stuff filled the attic. Stuff filled the yard. Much of it was old and unused stuff. Much of it was stuff she didn’t even remember she had.
We spent an entire weekend working through her house. I observed the stress my mom and aunt went through trying to get my grandmother to let stuff go. I watched my grandmother stress over what stuff to let go. By the end of the weekend my grandmother was safely in her new apartment, but the whole family was not only physically but emotionally exhausted. I vowed then never to let my stuff do to me or others what it did to all of us that weekend.
So I have a few simple rules that have served me well:
1) Trade Out
When I buy a new piece of clothing or other daily-use article, I get rid of an old one. I donate to Good Will or trash it if it’s too old to pass on.
2) The 6 Month Rule
Yes, I actually live by this! If it hasn’t been used, out it goes. No matter how much I paid for it, no matter how useful I think it might *someday* be, it has to go.
3) Living Space.
I live in a 1,400 square foot apartment. We have no attic, no garage, no yard and no rented storage space either. I know it is human nature to fill the space you have, so I’ve found that starting with less space is a great barrier to the ‘gathering stuff’ problem.
4) The Jones’s
I don’t compare what I have to what others have and try to keep up. If I did, we’d have a full-size dining room table rather than an a little bistro set. We’d have a big screen TV rather than a 32 inch one. I’d also probably have a pool, and a yard, and an attic – and all the things that come with having those thing.
What I learned from moving my grandmother was that too much stuff can weigh you down and stress you out and it can also be an incredible burden to those around you. And this stone has got too much rolling left to do to be weighed down with a lot of moss!