Letting Go Of Stuff

I’ve been in this de-cluttering mode for several years, now. On and off, of course, for those of you thinking I’m knee deep in closet clutter on a daily basis. 🙂 If that were the case, I would’ve been done years ago. But truthfully, my biggest problem with taking so many years to get rid of stuff, is sentimentality. I’m the worst at attaching my emotions to things. The saying, ‘you should own things, they shouldn’t own you’, is absolutely true. Problem is, my things own me! They won’t let me get rid of them without a huge fight. And I mean, knock down, drag out.

For example, take my parent’s first piece of furniture…I replaced the faded mirrors with fabric.

My parent’s first furniture purchase.

A small wardrobe they paid $25.00 for, in the 1930’s. They eventually gave it to my grandmother and after she passed away, they gave it to me. I used it for many years and only just recently, sold it. It was difficult to part with for only one reason…it was my parents first piece of furniture. I was emotionally attached to it and as you can see from the picture, not a wonderful piece.

And then there’s this little cheap table. No biggie, right? You’d have no trouble getting rid of this, I’m sure. But, what if there was a story attached? A cute, young couple-just starting out in marriage story. Evoking a sweet, makes me smile every time I look at it, memory. Ahh, now you’re interested. You want to know the story. To heck with the table.

Notice, it’s in the back of my SUV, ready to go back to the Good Will Store, from which it came, over 38 years ago. {I de-cluttered, then cleaned the carpet, by the way. I didn’t want you to see how I really live.} 🙂

But, I digress. This little nondescript, basically ugly table, was the first piece of furniture my husband and I bought. We lived in an apartment at the time and we needed a table for our fish tank. With no money, we shopped at the Good Will Store in Miami, Fl. And there we were, moving in and out of the floor area where we spotted this little gem. We measured it… Perfect for a ten gallon fish tank. We lifted the tag and read, ‘$3.50’. My husband carried it up to the cash register and pulled out all of the change he had in his pocket. Not enough. He looked at me. “You have any change?” He asked. By this time, a line had started to form. I dug through my purse, laid the coins on the counter and between the two of us, counted out $3.27. We looked at each other, then we looked at the clerk. She rolled her eyes and with a wave of her hand said, “Go on. Take it.”

That story is one of my fondest memories. My husband and I owned that table for over 38 years and it’s been a: fish tank table, a back of the sofa table, a guest bedroom table, an end table, a back porch table, a back door table for keys and such. It’s been stripped and stained wood tone, it’s been painted pea green, red and finally, dark blue.

When my husband and I stated out we had very little and what we had was borrowed from an older couple from our church. We slept on the floor for two months until we had enough money to buy a mattress and box springs. Time went by and eventually we were able to buy our first home. We filled it with hand-me-downs from our family and sidewalk sales in the small town where we lived. Soon, our house purchases co-insided with my husband’s business success. With each house, came more empty space and more stuff. Sofas, chairs, dinning sets, tables, bed sets, dishes, decorative items, knick knacks, and on and on it went. Bigger houses and more stuff. If any of you have ever seen the comedian, George Carlin’s stand up routine “Stuff”, well, that was us. *warning…George does use profanity…or I would’ve posted it here*

Forty years ago, today, I met my husband. We’ve been married for 39 years. We were both college students and didn’t have much of anything when we got married. We were so happy and excited, we didn’t realize what we didn’t have. We had each other and that’s all that mattered.

But, now after 39 years of marriage, a college graduate son, and the empty nest…it’s time to go the other way. To get to a point where our things don’t manage us but we mange them. To part with an item that might become another young couple’s little ‘nothing’ table. A table that may come to mean so much to them because of their sacrifice to buy it. When you have nothing, $3.50 is a lot.

Today, I’m taking that table to the Good Will store in Franklin Tn.

From Miami to Franklin. Some might say that’s quite a fall. But let me tell you where that little table has lived…

Miami, Fl. Booneville, Ms. Pontotoc, Ms. Poplar Bluff, Mo. Tucson, Az. Nashville, Tn. Tampa, Fl. Kansas City, Ks. Nashville, Tn. Franklin, Tn.

So…I wonder who will buy it? An up and coming country music singer? Or, someone who lost everything in a house fire? Will it get painted white and sit in a baby girls pink and yellow nursery? Will it house a special rock collection for a rowdy six year old? Will it become grandma’s side table?

Time to cut the sentimental tie. Time to drive to the Good Will store and say good-by.

But, I will always keep the memory. That, I will never have to part with.

How about you, guys? What items hold a special memory for you? Have you parted with them? What advice to do you have for those of us who struggle with parting with ‘stuff’? What’s been your secret to letting go? Please share-tips, suggestions, success stories. We’re all ears. 🙂 Especially, me.

I have a lot more ‘stuff’ to get rid of. In fact, I’m working on a plan to de-clutter my entire house. I’ll tell you more about it in the coming weeks. I’m going to need your help. 🙂

Best,

Darcy

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10 thoughts on “Letting Go Of Stuff

  1. What a lovely post, Darcy! 🙂
    I have problems letting go of things for the same reason, or because “maybe I’ll need it again someday.” I’ve gotten a lot better about it over the last few years, but my husband is still working on it, lol.

    • Oh yes…the old,”I’ll need it again, someday” trap! LOL That’s me, too. My problem of ‘letting it go’ is not only because of emotional attachment!
      Thanks for stoping by, Jordan!

  2. I am not a good one to offer advice. Many years ago I got rid of old letters from former boyfriends, old friends photos, etc. I have regretted that for years now. They don’t take up that much space and if you organize them they are of great value to you, your children and grandchildren years to come. Also, keepsakes are great to keep then share with your children and grandchildren (those who will care for and keep them.) Sentimentality is not all bad. I feel we need more of it in society today. Bulky items or too many cards, letters, etc. can be cumbersome. Those that contain no real ‘history’ nor caring, sentimental words can be destroyed. Those with just signatures have no real sentimentality to them.
    I personally don’t agree if you haven’t used it in six months let it go. Not all things are needed again within six months.

  3. I hear you, Lu Ann! And, I agree, old letters from family, friends and even boyfriends help tell your story. They will certainly be precious to your children and grandchildren. Those future grandchildren interested in their family tree would find your keep-sake letters invaluable!

    But, here’s my struggle, it’s with things I CAN replace if I need to. For instance, I’ve keep most of my son’s toys, stuffed animals, etc. And when he has his own children, I’ll probably want to buy them something new. I have my grandmother’s things, my mother’s things, my things, my husband’s childhood items. I collect, china, books, lighthouses, nutcrackers…I need THERAPY!!! LOL The other day I came across more of my music albums from high school and college. I’ve since sorted them into stacks, “to keep” “to give away”. Really? Shouldn’t I give them all to the Good Will Store?

    Keep your thought’s and suggestions coming! And Lu Ann, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I’ve kept all of my grandmother’s letters and my mother’s and father’s. My son will want to read them someday. And I’ll have them. 🙂

  4. Darcy, I love this post. It brought back so many memories of how my husband and I started our marriage–with all hand-me-down furniture and just each other. We really knew how to be frugal and careful with what little money we had! 🙂

    • Hi Diana,
      I’m so glad it brought you good memories! 🙂 And being frugal and careful with what you had was fun, wasn’t it? It was for me. Having to watch my pennies challenged my creative resources! LOL

  5. Hi Darcy,

    I love this story. It’s very sweet and a wonderful memory. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed a long marriage with good memories. That table has been many places and been put to good use. I guess I should be glad I’m not near your Goodwill store. I’d be tempted to take it home.

    I understand the sentimentality aspect. I suffer the same malady! 😉 I have just begun a blog with the intention of eliminating one thing (minimum) from my home each day. It’s my way of staying accountable to myself and perhaps inspiring others who feel the need to let go as well. Here’s the link: http://thejunkjam.wordpress.com/

    I’m in the baby stage. Just 4 days into it. Amazing how I’m viewing my possessions now, knowing something has to go. It’s like having a second, objective person around. I plan to continue the blog for a year so at least 365 things will be out of my space come this time next year. I can’t wait to see it then.

    Anne@TheJunkJam

    • Hi Anne,

      So glad to hear you’re on a quest to de-clutter and simplify your life, as well! One item a day is a terrific goal and I wish you the best on accomplishing it. I applaud you! You’ve certainly inspired me! I’m going to do something similar to you over the next year and will be sharing it in a future post. I’m still working out the details. It’ll be a challenge as I live in between two countries! It’s difficult to commit to getting rid of one item a day when I’m not in my main home for two to four weeks at a time. But I’ll figure something out! LOL

      Having another subjective person around is critical to our success to part with things. Keep me posted on your success! Good luck!

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