Something I hear a lot when people talk about minimalism or simple living is ‘What if I miss my stuff?’ , ‘What if I get rid of something and wish I hadn’t?’ Because everyone is different I can’t answer these questions for you but I can tell you the things I miss.
There are two areas I hear these questions pop up with:
- First is with memory items – What if I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of this piece? What if my kids or family wishes I kept it?
- Second is with necessary items – What if I get rid of this and need it later? Isn’t it expensive to buy it again?
These questions are stalling you. They seem logical in your head but it is your mind going against the change you are looking for in your life. These are good questions, and they are something to consider, but they have the power to take over your simple minimalist plans and derail them. Somehow, when we start going through our house looking for stuff everything seems like a need or a memory… but it isn’t.
…I don’t want to say grandma’s china is poison… but it could be. If you have been reading and dreaming about simplifying your space for a while now but the action part is coming along too slow it might be because you are getting stuck on these questions.
Things I miss
As we went though cutting our belongings down drastically during the last 18-ish months I definitely had those feelings. I think many different backgrounds can make cutting back hard, my background was poor and thrifty. I grew up in a single parent home and we lived many years on welfare and child support. Money, and everything that came with it like cloths and food, were always in short supply. Now that I am grown up and married we have scrimped and saved to be self-employed, debt-free, and to allow me to stay home with the kids. We never just threw things away easily because everything was valuable.
That being said, on the plus side, what we had (and then got rid of) was not very valuable. Most of the things we had in the house were purchased used or at a bargain.
As I sit her typing I am trying to figure out how to explain what we miss now. I don’t want it to sound ‘flowery’ or ‘perfect’ but we really don’t miss the things we got rid of. Deciding to get rid of them was hard, actually handing them over often had lots of doubt mixed in, but a few months later…I have to think hard to remember what we actually did get rid of.
- There was the time I accidentally got rid of both my irons when I meant to only give away one.
- I still don’t really know why we sold our dinning room table as almost one of the first things… we ended up buying another one.
- Sometimes when I sit and play guitar I miss my first guitar that just seemed to be a part of me and circled the globe with me when I was younger (I had two guitars and kept the better one).
But, these are all very minor. I have a new iron, the new dinning room set fits better into our small space, and I only need one guitar.
We almost had a tragedy a few weeks ago after we delivered a box of toys to Goodwill when my son thought he had given away his favorite stuffed animal (both my kids change out favorites almost weekly). He was all sad and depressed until about a week later when he actually looked in his toy box and found it sitting there waiting for him.
Otherwise, in all the boxes that went in multiple trips to Goodwill, all the stuff we sold on garage sale, all the stuff we sold on Craigslist or gave away to friends and family – I hardly remember what it was, much less miss it.
I have heard other minimalists say similar things as well.
So the questions are real and normal, but the chances are greater that you won’t even remember the item a year from now. Instead of focusing your thinking on the reasons for keeping items, shift your focus to the simple life you are wanting to create. Don’t think of all the ‘what ifs’ – think about the goal.
Is there something that is getting in the way of your simplifying? (if you are reading RSS join us in the comments)
2 weeks until the launch of Simple Living – 30 days to less stuff and more life.
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