The Power of Stuff: When Simplifying Is Hard To Do

 

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We Never Realize How Strong the Grip of Consumerism is on our lives until we try to remove it.”  Joshua Becker @ Becoming Minimalist

I have seen the truth of that statement more and more as we continue in our simplifying journey as a family. It’s one thing to say that we are going to get rid of the excess clutter and stuff that weighs us down. It is yet another thing to actually follow through. Intentions will only take you so far. There must be a strong, more compelling reason to help us cross the finish line.

If we get real honest with ourselves, many times there are deeper, internal reasons why we hold onto stuff:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Memories
  • Culture
  • Expectations
  • Obligation

Most of us may sense there is a deeper reasoning to why we hold onto or accumulate stuff.  But unless we are willing to dig deeper and identify the things holding us captive, getting free from the power of stuff is a long hard climb.

For me it came down to asking myself this one key question?

Key Question: Why Do I need This ___________?(Particular Item)

If the answer does not fit into the following two criteria – “Is It Used Right Now?” OR “Is It Truly Sentimental?” – Then it’s time to dig deeper.

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For instance: For years I have held onto a lot of books. Now, you have to understand that I have always been a bit of a bookworm and I love the feel of a real book in my hands.

However, the reality is, once I read the book I rarely, if ever, re-read it. Yet my bookshelves were groaning with the weight of their pages. The books were not “needed” or “sentimental.” The deeper reason I was holding onto them?

What IF (and it was a big IF) I wanted to read them again? What if I was missing something and didn’t know it?

Instead, I realized that I could bless a lot of other people with these same books that had brought me such hours of joy. I’ve kept a handful of books that I resource often or ones I plan to pass to my own girls. The rest have since been sent to various places where they can bless a lot more people than just me. The letting go was not necessarily easy, but it brought such freedom from simply holding onto something for the sake of holding on.

So now, each item in our home goes through the same process. Needed? Sentimental? Why?

I know there may be a lot more reasons as to why we hold onto stuff, but for me I found it is important to take these first steps and recognize what drives me to hold onto things. It’s a process.

Small steps over time can lead to big change.

I appreciate this quote from Joshua Becker because it helps to capture the essence of what happens when we let go of stuff, leaving room to embrace the things that really matter in life.

“Removing ourselves from the culture of consumption that surrounds us allows wonderful habits to emerge in our lives: contentment, gratitude, freedom from comparison, and the opportunity to pursue greater significance.” Joshua Becker

So, what area is the hardest for you to simplify? Or What has helped you overcome the power of stuff?

Keeping it Simple,

Victoria

 Do You Want To Simplify Your Life? Learn To Leave The Rat Race Behind? Discover Margin For Your Life?  A lot of folks do and yet, like many people, you’re not exactly sure where to get started.  I’m here to help! Grab my FREE 10 Step Guide below that will Help get you started on a journey to break FREE from An Overwhelmed life.  There is a better way! 

 

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About The Author

Victoria Mininger

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22 COMMENTS

  1. lisa lynn | 31st Dec 14

    Hi,
    Great post! I found you on The Homestead Barn Hop and I’d like to invite you to share your talent on The HomeAcre Hop on Thursdays! We encourage posts on homesteading, homemaking, and homeschooling. This week we are having a special hop for your ‘Best of 2014’ posts…hope to see you there!

    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/

    • Victoria Mininger | 31st Dec 14

      Thank you Lisa and thank you for the invite. I have connected some with Tracy over on “Our Simple Homestead” over the last few weeks and am excited for the upcoming HomeAcre Hop this Thursday. I will certainly see you there! Blessings as you head into this New Year!
      ~Victoria

  2. Brittany @ Equipping Godly Women | 31st Dec 14

    I love decluttering and simplifying! I’m actually in the process of going through everything right now…

    • Victoria Mininger | 31st Dec 14

      Brittany – I love the feeling of freedom that comes from less stuff and de-cluttering too. Let me know how your simplifying process is going. Cheering you on! ~Victoria

  3. Jennie Goutet | 31st Dec 14

    Hm. I never thought about books as being clutter, but I can see that you’re right. I think I also tend to hold on to kitchen items more than is necessary. I don’t quite need that many baking pans or spatulas.

    • Victoria Mininger | 31st Dec 14

      Jennie – You and me both. My husband used to call me the queen of Tupperware! I’m afraid I had a little too much 🙂 Thanks by stopping by and joining the conversation! ~Victoria

  4. Kenzel | 31st Dec 14

    Clutter can consume us but de-cluttering can also be a lifelong process. I recognized it as such when I helped clean out my Sister’s place after her death. Good points!

    • Victoria Mininger | 31st Dec 14

      Kenzel,
      That is so true. Simplifying and de-cluttering is a continual process. I always have to re-evaluate where I am at so that it does not become overwhelming again. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us. ~Victoria

  5. Kirsten Mia | 1st Jan 15

    Simplifying is hard to do. I have spent the last 10 years trying to break the power my “stuff” had on me. I had gone through a divorce I didn’t initiate and had boxes of “stuff” in the basement that came from that period of my life that I could just not deal with then. After about three years I made my self begin….. what a journey.
    I would open a box and decide what would I pass on to my older children and let them deal with it, what was junk, what was usable today and burn the box. It was emotional but very healing. Then I kept going. I gave away 16 totes of baby clothes…. but I went through every one of them, piece by piece, crying, remembering… then letting go.
    I did the same with clothes, 40 big black bagfuls went to a mission in the Ozarks (far enough away that I would never see them again).
    Here I am with stuff everywhere…. but It’s stuff I love and use. When I take stock of my “stuff” it’s mostly books and cooking items and apparatus, camera equipment, craft stuff, gardening “stuff”… OK, I still have a lot of stuff.

    I did learn on my journey not to let my “stuff” have as big a part in my life as the memories they help create… the photographs, the midnight toffee with chocolate ganache… it’s a more peaceful existence that has been created on the inside of me from letting go of more than just the “stuff”.

    Peace, Kirsten

    • Victoria Mininger | 1st Jan 15

      Kirsten,
      You are so right – simplifying is hard to do. It has been a process for me too. Even though it’s been hard I want to applaud you for pressing through. Purging our homes of stuff can be a healing experience as well for our hearts and spirit, as it has been for you. It’s not easy, but it can bring such freedom. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has been inspiring and encouraging. Blessings to you in this New Year!
      ~Victoria

  6. Christy | 1st Jan 15

    Books are so hard to let go of, I have hundreds, many leftover from my homeschooling days. I mean what if the zombies come and these are the only books that save us (hahaha) Great post!

    • Victoria Mininger | 1st Jan 15

      I know what you mean about the Homeschooling books Christy. Those were filling up the other half of my bookshelves. Zombies..HAHA – I like that. Have a great New Year and thanks so much for coming by.
      ~Victoria

  7. JES | 3rd Jan 15

    Great post! Books is something I struggle with too. Very hard to let those go! And I have also noticed that when I purge, the very next year there is always more to get rid of! It is a way of life and something to be maintained. Thank you for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

    • Victoria Mininger | 3rd Jan 15

      It is indeed a process and one that I think we have to constantly monitor. There are always things that come in daily – junk mail, extra papers from the kids, gifts and daily living stuff. Monitoring is key.

  8. EFFIE K. | 3rd Jan 15

    I have been working on de-junking my life for about 15 years. Since Aug 2014 it has been the main focus of my day in/day out actions. I have discovered that it is hardest for me to let go of written word items. Be it books or old letters & notes from loved ones & even some magazines. I sell and donate or shred& recycle the ones that I can let go of BUT AS OF RIGHT NOW I have 182 books on a book catalog app i found and probably another couple of hundred in storage…… PLEASE keep encouraging me!!!

    🙂

    • Victoria Mininger | 3rd Jan 15

      It sounds like you are doing a great job. It is a process that I think can take a lifetime – because stuff always comes into our lives and has to be evaluated and decided upon (to keep or not to keep) As a writer I love the written word too. I am doing better at using online apps for note taking and storage. I’ll be posting about that soon too. So glad you stopped by! ~Victoria

  9. EFFIE K. | 3rd Jan 15

    also I this page as my home page on my desktop computer!

  10. Sharon Rowe | 7th Jan 15

    Thank you for sharing on How To Get Organized At Home, I have been having the book dilemma, I have loads of books and like you I know I will never read most of them again so why have I still got them? I just don’t know there is no reason why I haven’t given some of the less precious books to someone else to enjoy. I might start with a small goal of giving away one book a week, it would make a tiny dent in the books I have but it will be a start. Thank you for sharing and making me think!

    • Victoria Mininger | 7th Jan 15

      Sharon,
      What a great idea for reducing books and items in your home! One book a week – I will have to try that going forward. Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts and ideas. ~Victoria

    • EFFIE K. | 8th Jan 15

      Sharon,
      Thanks for 1 book a week idea, sounds great. I already try to do 2 things a day but books have not been part of that. So glad I found this page.

  11. Stella Lee @purfylle | 11th Jan 15

    I think I hold onto stuff so much now because we had so little when I was growing up. I value it. Now I’m learning the value of not having it. :o)

    • Victoria Mininger | 12th Jan 15

      I think there is a lot of truth in what you said Stella Lee. I know that early on, before we began to really simplify, that I felt those same emotions too. Growing up we didn’t have a lot, but we had the things that mattered. For me, like you, it’s getting back to the things that matter. Thanks for coming and joining the conversation.

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