28 March 2011

Letting go

About ten years ago I talked to a man who made a decision to relieve himself of all his belongings, keeping only the essentials, like a bed and the clothes on his back. He didn't attempt to sell his possessions or even give them away, he just put it all in a container in the street, and let the passers-by help themselves to it. He never looked back, and as far as I know only felt a huge sense of relief.

I was fascinated by his resolve, but at the same time convinced that this would never happen to me. Only now it is beginning to. I don't know if what I have started will eventually go that far, or if I will reach a point where it will be (less-) enough. But I never imagined feeling so detached from all this stuff that I for a lifetime have been seeking out and dragging home with me from all over the world. So far, I have stuffed and thrown out several garbage bags. Other bags have been donated to the local kids flea market. Next month another truckload (literally, ugh) will arrive from storage, and I will have to do it all over again. But eventually I plan to be free of it all. And even though I could use the money, I feel that I am getting paid in freedom just by getting it out of my life.

I would not describe myself as a minimalist (although I may be turning into one?), and I definitely love luxury. But more than anything I love the freedom of a simple life. Ultimately I just want to be happy, and clutter is not the recipe for that. A couple of years back I launched the small sticker project "do you speak Sandra"? This was the first:


Wanting more is getting old. It would seem I have been heading in this direction all along, it only took me another two years to realize. Life is way too short for this kind of reaction time!

Summer time

Oh, and summertime has arrived, so far only the clocks are affected.

18 comments:

  1. love simple + love all my stuff = ...what to dooo??

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  2. Haha, get a summer house? Or wait until it feels good to let it go, no need to rush it.

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  3. I have the same problem. How to get rid of my books? my vinyl records? I've been carrying them around the world. I feel the urge to empty my house though. I'm trying and trying. One garbage bag at the time. One item on Craigslist at the time. one garage sale at the time. I am so emotionally attached to my stuff!!!

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  4. Hi Carole,
    I know exactly what it is like to be emotionally attached to your stuff. That is why I never imagined myself here.. I am going to keep the very best, but even that line is getting finer all the time. Not much is sacred at the moment. Getting everything back from storage is probably going to be crazy and exhausting, the blast from the past ugh.

    The vinyl records can stay, don't you think? For now I plan to keep mine, but they are arriving with the stuff from storage, I can't even remember what is in there.

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  5. I can't get rid of stuff... I am a pack rat!

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  6. Hi!
    This is a very nice text, full of optimism and ideas of freedom.
    To be continued...and experimented?

    :-)

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  7. Having just turned 52,I suspect it's all part of the 'life cycle'. We go through the acquisitive stage when we are nest building and then, as life passes by ,comes the realization you can't take it with you. It all just becomes a millstone. Still,it's good to hang onto a few meaningful things. A lovely bicycle, a beautiful surfboard,old letters,photographs.Things which jolt the memory banks. It's a maudlin thought,I know.

    cheers and happy decluttering,

    Ian

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  8. Hi Ian,
    it could just be a case of feeling mortal. But oddly also more alive. In some ways getting rid of (almost) everything seems so much more work than acquiring it in the first place. Even with all the stuff I throw out and give away, there are things left I must at least attempt to sell, those are the real millstones.

    But not to worry, I am not getting rid of absolutely everything. I'm just keeping only the very best.

    :-) Sandra

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  9. Hi Celena, getting rid of your stuff is not for everybody. Hopefully some of the stuff I don't need anymore will make someone else really happy. Maybe a pack rat? :-)

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  10. Hello Anonymous, yes, to be continued. Definitely.

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  11. I have too much stuff too :(

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  12. Jeg er lidt på samme hold. Det føles meget underligt at begynde at skille sig af med ting, når man har brugt hele sit liv på at samle, men det er så befriende når man gør det.
    Og vinylerne må godt blive!

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  13. Flora Amalie, det underligste er at jeg ikke engang føler at det er mit længere. At jeg bare opbevarer det. Og klart at vinylerne bliver!

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  14. Jeg havde skrevet en lang besked på engelsk, tog nok en halv time at skrive, som gik tabt...Tror det var fordi jeg samtidig havde min google-konto aktiv.
    Så du får lige et hurtigt referat på dansk: Jeg har selv stået i situationen med at give slip på ejendele, især i forbindelse med flytning. Sidste gang havde jeg f.eks. flere hundrede croquis-skitser, lavet i min skoletid, som var meget uhåndtérbare at slæbe med. Og set idag er jeg glad for at jeg smed dem ud, for de ville bare ligge i et hjørne og samle støv er jeg sikker på. Beholdt de 10 bedste tegninger eller deromkring;)
    Derudover smed jeg 4-5 sorte affaldssække med blandet "crap" ud... Og gammelt tøj gik til genbrug.

    Står selv overfor en flytning igen snart, og der ryger der igen en masse ud...
    Det giver faktisk sjælefred, som Ian udtrykker det : "Decluttering".
    Man rydder op på sin indre harddisk ;)

    Som jeg har nævnt tidligere, er jeg på jagt efter lejebolig i Storkøbenhavn, så hvis nogen af jer i hovedstaden hører eller ved noget, må I gerne smide mig en mail:
    drumsteak@gmail.com

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  15. Ah, Drumstick, hvor ærgerligt. Men re-cap'et funger ret godt også. Jeg har vænnet mig til at kopiere længere kommentarer inden jeg trykker send, det har jeg haft glæde af mere end en gang efterhånden..

    Det er faktisk en slags harddisk cleanup, som du kalder det. Ah, har lige slæbt et skab ned i gården, luksus! Held og lykke med boligjagten!

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  16. Jeg ejer intet. Bortset fra bøger. Dem har jeg til gengæld også alt for mange af, når man tænker på min hyppige flyttefrekvens.

    Ville ønske, jeg kunne kyle dem ud. Så jeg slap for sure flyttemænd, udgifter til opbevaring, flyttekasser, flyttekasser, flyttekasser.

    Nænner det bare ikke. Hver eneste titel fortæller jo historier om gymnasiet, veninder, uni, rejser, kærester, steder jeg har boet.

    Og faktisk føler jeg mig heller ikke hjemme i en ny lejlighed. Før bogreolen er placeret og fyldt op.

    Men tager jeg ud og bladrer, når først de er læst? Sjældent. Kan jo håbe, at hele lortet brænder en dag. Med løg på.

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  17. Altså amarOrame, alt det her (nu kaldet:) ragelse har jo tjent et vigtigt formål, som lidt ligner det du beskriver. Der har været alle mulige minder og drømme og ideer knyttet til hver en dims, og det har være med til at give mig følelsen af at have et hjem. En ørkenrejse uden sidestykke at nå til det punkt, faktisk.

    Men der er jo også sandsynligheden for at det her er en midlertidig psykose og at jeg vågner skrigende op i et tomt hjem om et par måneder uden at fatte hvad der gik af mig, hahaha.

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  18. looking forward to check the next text about this great project!
    I hope that your laptop suits your bag pack!

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