Healthy Living

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. 🙂



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