In our family, we have 5 people who are interested in so many things. We like to go to garage sales, we get loads of gifts on birthdays and holidays, and we have no problem buying the tools we need for our latest area of interest. And, I am not sure, but I am pretty sure that homeschooling might exacerbate the situation.
In the last few years I have gotten rid of nearly half my books. This was not easy, I love to read and browse through my shelves. It is also wonderful knowing I have a "just the book" on a variety of topics that might arise. But, there is still too much.
Cull after cull, there is still too much. I want to go deeper.
So, I have begun to think about the stories we attach to our stuff. And re-evaluating those stories to see if they still hold true.
One of my biggest stories is that I need to have a house full of resources for my ever curious children. But, after a little digging I can see that this is not really a valid argument. We live near a library that has thousands of books on its shelves. We also have internet access at home and a variety of people who we can call to ask for help or guidance on many topics. And, I have come to see that in many ways having all these "resources" actually limits my kid's thinking. They are rarely excited when I pull a book from the shelf and hand it to them, because I have in effect removed them from the process of seeking their own knowledge. So, although we still have tons of books, I have released many, many back to the world and have opened more space for exploration and investigation. I am trying to get rid of half. That is a big goal because I am now cutting deep into my collection and hitting a lot of nerves.
Another huge story for me (and I hope someone can relate) is that I am going to read novels. I collect them from the library sale table for pocket change. Best sellers, ones I have seen recommended on other blogs, pretty covered gems with the all the possibility of sweet escape. But, I rarely read them. I read nonfiction, memoir and essays with ease and hunger. Fiction, not so much. It seems like something that I should be reading, but I can rarely get past a chapter or two before falling asleep. So, out with most of the fiction that I know I will not read. I still have a handful or classics and specially chosen ones I do want to read, but I have at least 100 that I do not need.
I am so curious about the stories you hold regarding your stuff. Do you keep tons of fabric for the day you might sew all your own clothes? What about tools for projects that you think you might want to do, someday? School research papers that you will reread in your old age? Or boxes and boxes of recyclables for craft making?
The thing I am realizing, is that all this stuff, we think holds possibilities for better versions of ourselves. It is like a drawer of clothes two sizes to small. We think if we hold on to these things, we can get back to something we once were or something we have always aspired to be. But, we are also letting the weeds grow over a million other possible paths, interests and experiences. It is like we have a huge field full of long soft grass and beautiful wildflowers - and we keep walking the same path, over and over, packing hard the dirt of comfortable possibilities and completely ignoring the vast field of all that might be.
So, with this post, I encourage you - and me, to get off the path, explore further, look in new places and a great way to start this process is clear out the crap (even the good stuff).
Now, if I could just release my vintage camera and clock collection...
Please share a comment about your journey with stuff...
want to go deeper with more of your stories and do some deep personal excavation?
check out my lab, A Book About Me - we start April 1st!
"This lab will help you find yourself. the self you lost or has become submerged in the constant din of quotidian noise and bustle. She might be awkward or sad after all these years, but she is still there, waiting for you to call her forth. "