Noble introduced me to Miss Minimalist last year. Although I'm not ready to downsize to 100 items and live like a Nun, it has helped me to move in the direction of owning less.
Two other factors have come into play recently. One was helping my mother, and sisters-in-law, clean out my younger sister's room after she died. My sister was confined to a wheelchair most of her life. She had several hobbies and interests, all of them heavy on the stuff. She loved make-up and nail polish, and had tons of both, along with dozens of bottles of perfume and bath products. She was a "Stamper" and had hundreds (maybe thousands, since I'm not sure what they cost) of dollars worth of stamps, ink, paper, paper cutters, doo-dads, and such. All her life she'd been given stuffed animals and had kept most of them. She never got rid of clothes as she outgrew them. We must have had a dozen large garbage bags of clothes to go to the charity shop. Oh, one other thing she loved was jewelry, she could have opened a store!
Helping my mother sort through this and bag it up was interesting. To me it was just junk to be gotten rid of, for my mother it was all kinds of memories. What it taught me is, of course, that we leave all our stuff behind when we go home. I knew that, but had never gone through the actual clean out before. Second, that the most valuable things to leave behind are not material goods; it's the journals and photo albums (if they are well labeled) that are the most valuable, as they are a record of a specific life lived. I have often wished my grandmother's had left journals and photo albums. I don't feel I know them well enough. My father and grandfathers each have written a personal life history; those are precious volumes to me. My dad has been really good about putting together and labeling photo albums. My mom is currently working on her life story.
Clothes, dishes, jewelry, knick-knacks, toys, hobby supplies, furniture, music cd's, DVD's, and any other personal belongings usually get divvied up, sold, donated, or trashed. Unless it is an unusual piece or it has specific sentimental value to another family member, it is simply excess junk.
The other factor in moving me toward a less encumbered life has been children leaving home. I don't need so many things in the kitchen, or the linen cupboard; outgrown games, toys, and books can be donated; the fact that we live in a much smaller house than we did five years ago helps too. There just isn't room here for all my "stuff." Plus, the fact that some of it has been packed up for the past three moves means I probably can get along without it. I also want to get rid of the cost of our storage unit. Little by little I'm proceeding toward my goal of a place for everything and everything in it's place.
Today I went through my kitchen cupboard where I keep serving bowls and such. I removed duplicates and excess, reminding myself that I have enough and some things can serve in multiple ways. I rearranged what was left and it sure feels good to have more room in the cupboard.
Our town has a community-wide yard sale in the Spring so I'm preparing for a big sale. Whatever is left will be taken to my favorite thrift store.
P.S. Happy Birthday to Elder PW - He's 21 today!