This morning I got an email from my sister and it said:
I was passing by a table at the mall yesterday and I saw this and thought of you and smiled.
Knowing that we don’t need any more useless junk, I opted to leave it there but took a pic of it to share with you.
Her email made my day.
I feel buried under “The Stuff”.
Our home used to be an example of consumerism gone out of control where each happy meal (yes we used to eat at McDonalds) came with a non-edible plastic toy stamped Made in China. But it didn’t stop there, years of Christmases and ‘retail therapy’ and The Stuff just piled up. We have for the past 3 years worked hard at clearing the clutter. Slowly!
Not long ago, my daughter had enough. She literally carried everything she did not love out of her room and put it in the garage where now we all have to step over it to get to the utility sink next to the washer and dryer. The day she did that, I admired her, and wished that I could do what she so easily did. But, over time, I have come to hate how in one morning she transferred the responsibility of her Stuff to me.
If you looked around our home, you may (or may not) be overwhelmed by the piles of stuff, but sometimes I am. The garage would certainly make you stop and wonder if hoarders lived here… the house is much better. My problem is that I associate a value to things. And, I’m not talking just money. I see in the pile, a picture frame gifted to her by a relative or close friend, a stuffed animal that marked a special occasion or even a book that we cherished as a child and I find myself unable to just put them in the giveaway pile. They represent memories of time gone by. So they remain in my path, creating clutter and collecting dust.
In order to help myself with this problem, I have asked people not to gift me with “stuff”. I have made a pact not to buy any clothing unless I can take something out of the closet to make room. I have only replaced things for the kitchen and resisted the latest gadgets just because I’m committed not to drown in Stuff.
My sister’s email today gave me hope. It showed me that someone understands me. Had she bought me the sequined Y, I would not be able to throw it away. We live at opposite ends of North America and I find that despite our sibling rivalry growing up, we are now best friends and wish we were neighbors. So any gift from her would be cherished by me. Call me sentimental. And as much as she wanted to show me that she was thinking of me, she put my needs first and that made me feel that she “sees” me and that she knows that the gifts I most cherish are not made of Stuff.