What Your Stuff is Showing You

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by stuff? I do, and it’s time to do something about it. I decided to love all my stuff exactly as it is.

Our stuff is a reflection of who we used to be. As eternal beings who are always changing, we have stuff is stale the moment we trot it home. It’s yesterday’s news, the second we hit checkout on our cart. It’s a relic of the past versions of us, the moment we take the tags off.

Let’s face it. Stuff is our shared, collective history and it’s weighing us all down. So let’s let go of our stuff, after we have sufficiently loved the people we were when we bought it all.

My excess stuff tends toward clothing, hobby supplies, and personal care. Which says a lot about me. I want clothes that feel great, more fun in my free time, and to look great every day. Instead of focussing on those wants, I instead over-shopped in those categories hoping the law of large numbers would help me: surely one pair will be great if I buy ten pairs of black pants.

A sure-fire way to see yourself is to sort through your stuff and ask, what is this showing me? When I found 20 rolls of Christmas wrap and still wanted to go buy more, it showed me that I want beauty on Christmas morning. And that I love the feel of really good paper. Those two wants are now written down in my personal notebook that I call: About Me.

When you gather these tidbits about yourself, you make better choices in the future. I recently bought a pair of boots that are gorgeous, but not comfortable. They are still sitting in the box, telling me I want comfort and style, at the same time.

When you gather these tidbits about yourself, you make better choices in the future.

Here is a real tell: any item you order, but forget what it is once the package arrives, is a juicy morsel of goodness about you. I did this recently with a gift for my son, which showed me I was not particularly excited about this gift. And that I want to give gifts that others will love.

Collecting your true wants is a better, and more fun, pastime than collecting stuff. Once you start making notes of all your wants, you’ll find that you have all sorts of desires, playing out in your stuff. I — a writer — have pens everywhere, and I love the satisfaction of a really good pen. Noted.

I am not anti-stuff. I love my stuff. But I would like to live a little lighter these days. Which is why I am using my stuff to show me my wants and then I am patiently putting it all away where I can’t see it anymore.

I call this staging, as I edit out my house as if we were putting it on the market. When you do this, get some storage boxes to hold all the excess stuff you edit out so that your house looks good for others. Then write a note on your phone to look in those boxes in one month, six months, and one year. See if anything comes back out. If it doesn’t, donate it after a year.

Stuff has a way of weighing us down, energetically. I prefer to energy clear and toss my stuff so that I am ready when a great piece comes my way. We all love a great new acquisition. Get ready for it by boxing up your stuff, as if you are staging your home.

Another technique is to pretend you are going on a trip and you can only take your most favorite pieces. Set them all aside. Then box up everything else and move it to another room until you are ready to donate it.

When I do this, I realize that my love pile is small. Which freaks me out. Until I remind myself that I only wear 5% of my closet anyway.

These techniques help me reduce, and I make sure to do so in a loving manner. Meaning, I never beat up on myself for prior purchases. I thank them for showing me wants and then re-distribute the items I no longer want

Capturing wants is now a pastime of mine. I see all my stuff as a visual reminder that I have wants. That I want more from life. That I want to lean into my wants.

What does your stuff say about you?

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