Life Lessons/Life Changes and the Stuff

gayle0000September 27, 2008

I started typing this under the "Best organizing tips/Worst Mistakes" thread, but it took a life of it's own as I started typing, so I'm making it a new thread.

I've never been one to have or store a lot of excess "stuff" to begin with. Howver, I think the way our lives change and the lessons we learn in life have a lot to do with how we keep or let go of the stuff and any mind baggage they may be attached to. I'll keep this story on-target without all the backup details.

I got divorced a year ago. I left with DD. The exH was verbally & mentally abusive and controlling. I was starting to question who I really was anymore and finally realized the emotional stress and loss of control was not good for me and was not even close to how I wanted my life to be. Our house and things (stored or displayed) were about what made him feel good and how it was perceived by everyone else. It prevented me from raising DD or living life in a healthy way.

We left, and I had time to get my head cleared and my focus back on track.

Here's what I learned for myself:

As a general rule, if a "thing", a group of things, or a area of things disrupts my life, my quality of life, my happiness, or my household in any way; if something causes me stress or worry just by it being there, or it's something I'm having to struggle with or work around, it has no place in my home. It doesn't belong here. It's either good, happy vibes for us, or it's gone.

If something needs cleaned or cleared because it bugs me, then I do it. I have better things to think about and would rather use my brain scatter on happy things.

I know this is an odd post. I was just reading various posts about clutter and stress and all this mind jumble just had to come out of me. I hope it helps someone.

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pink_overalls

Good for you, Gayle0000! Many of us have ended unhappy relationships, and I think the more abusive they were, the more important it is to clear the decks and establish a fresh start. You need to define yourself in a new way, and surround yourself with what makes you strong and happy. I find that if something reminds me of unpleasant situations it's better to get rid of it. If it must be stored as a family heirloom, documents or photographs, then just get it out of sight. Congratulations on taking control of your life.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 3:01PM
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graywings123

Not an odd post at all. Made perfect sense to me.

There is a saying on the Decorating forum, "Decorate for the life you have, not the life you wish you had." I think you are doing something like that - getting rid of things from your house that you don't want to be part of your life.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 6:06PM
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maryliz

Thank you for sharing your story, Gayle. You were very brave to get out of that relationship. It must not have been easy.

What you are saying makes sense to me. Stuff has a way of exerting control; of owning its owner, if we let it.

I have sometimes used the idea of the Amish as an ideal. Some of the things they do don't make sense to me, but the general idea is that they live without many of the things that we take for granted, such as telephones in the home, electric devices, and other trappings of civilization.

So I have distilled down their idea. If a technology stands in the way of happiness, then I can live without it. (Your short essay has helped me to see how I have expanded the idea of "do without' to include the layer of unneeded stuff that seems to coat many people's lives in an obscure grunge.)

I make little efforts to simplify my life, even if it means a bit of inconvenience. I'd rather have a little inconvenience than be at the beck and call of a technology or possession or any other inanimate object that has the potential to rule my life. My happiness is so much more important then the illusion of security created by an insulating blanket of stuff.

I hope that you are able to find a new balance in your life. Like you said, you'd rather fill your mind with happy things. That is a good goal for any of us.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 6:22PM
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donnawb

Yes, when stuff becomes more important than people that is a problem. Glad you are finally taking the steps to make you happy.

We all have to put in perspective that "stuff" is just that. I don't like a lot of stuff but know others that do and they have to have the "right stuff" to be "happy" even though they can't afford it.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 8:42PM
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arizonarose

This is really an interesting thread. Our big change was last yr when dh retired early, dropping out of the rat race. We got rid of a LOT of stuff. I'm talking HUGE amounts. We had an auction, yard sales, donated and gave tons of stuff to family members. We literally pared down to just the things we love.

Life is so good now, uncluttered and so easy to maintain.
Gayle I understand totally what you mean when you say if things don't fit in with good happy vibes they are gone. Excellent way to be!

It really is freeing to get rid of the accumulation of things that aren't useful or important and scale down to what you love & use.

Great post!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 11:22PM
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mitchdesj

I love this post, it reflects what I think.

" you are what you surround yourself with"

Not easy to attain, it takes a lot of effort, at least in my case; I have to make a conscious effort to not procrastinate.

My mindset has really changed as far as hanging on to "things" as mementoes, the older I get the less important that is.

The life I am living now is more important to me than the past ; I know my past shaped me, but I don't need boxfuls of stuff to hang on to. A lot of the things I am saving are more for my kids benefit than mine, so I streamline those boxes a lot.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 7:24AM
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talley_sue_nyc

As a general rule, if a "thing", a group of things, or a area of things disrupts my life, my quality of life, my happiness, or my household in any way; if something causes me stress or worry just by it being there, or it's something I'm having to struggle with or work around, it has no place in my home. It doesn't belong here.

I like this general idea, except that I have often found that the stuff causing me stress is the stuff I actually use and like.

It's just causing me stress because some OTHER junk is taking up the storage space that *should* belong to the stuff that's getting in my way around the house.

But yes, if the non-storage vibes the stuff gives off is negative, it needs to go out. "Stop me before I kill again," sort of.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 10:10PM
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mommabird

"Yes, when stuff becomes more important than people that is a problem."

WOW dd50 do you realize how very profound that is? I know sooooooo many people whose STUFF is more important to them than their family or friends. And let's not even talk about our society in general - how STUFF has become a god to many people!

Gayle - thanks for the reminder to get rid of stuff and its negative energy! Good luck and many, many blessings to you and your daughter!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 9:25PM
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