My house is full of it. My car is full of it. My classroom is full of it. I’ve collected lots of it over the last 41 years of my life. We accumulate things and we cram them in closets, store them in attics, and shove them in drawers. But how much of it really matters? And how much of it do we ever miss when it’s gone?
I’ve read countless blogs – challenges to get rid of so many bags in so many days (done it), challenges to get rid of anything you haven’t used in the last month (done it), challenges to purge, purge, purge (done it).
But I think I’ve finally discovered the question to ask when it comes to material things – whether buying or giving or accumulating. Recently I watched an interesting documentary on Netflix called The Minimalists. I wouldn’t say I agree wholeheartedly with all their ideas, but these two guys are on a quest to live meaningfully with less. That appeals to me a lot – living meaningfully with less stuff. And what appeals to me even more is asking these questions:
“Does this object/thing/possession have value to me? Is it meaningful? Does it have a meaningful place in my life?”
AND MORE IMPORTANTLY:
“Why do I have this? Why is it important?”
For instance, someone might have a large book library – but it holds great value to him because he is learning and growing – so it makes sense. That’s the value choice he has. But does every pair of shoes, every shirt, every hat I own (I looooove hats) have value to me? Is it meaningful? WHY do I own it?
Do I own it because I want people to admire me? Not a good reason.
Do I own it because it’s “cool”? An even worse reason.
Do I own it to acquire more possessions? To be seen as wealthy? To be seen as important? Yuck, yuck, yuck.
The WHY is super important.
Why do I need all that “stuff”? There are plenty of people around the world who live happily with merely a percentage of what I own.
As a teacher, I have an important philosophy. Anytime they want, my students can ask me WHY we are learning something. And if I can’t answer them, then I shouldn’t be teaching it. End of story. This translates to every part of my life – and now, to my stuff. If I can’t answer WHY I have something, then I probably shouldn’t have it. It needs to add meaning and value to my life.
So, my friends, my husband and I are setting out on a mission. The next 40 days we are beginning a quest to find meaning in our stuff – one closet, one drawer, one room at a time.
For each thing I’m going to ask myself the important WHY question – really thinking about the value it adds to my life. I don’t want materialism to rule my life. I want to breathe the art of simplifying so that what surrounds me adds meaning.
Will I own stuff? Sure.
But I want to hold loosely to the things of this world because they don’t last. I want to hold so loosely that if someone truly needs something I own, I won’t hesitate to give it away. It’s not mine anyway.
In the end, none of the “stuff” I own will matter. What I have owned in my heart – that’s what will count. But this is my journey – just another adventure my family is embarking on – and we have absolutely no idea where it will take us. But adding more meaning to my life? Shedding the excess to make room for what’s most important?
Sounds like a best day ever adventure to me.
Check out my other goals for 2017. Want to know what was up with the Wisehart fam in 2016? Check out our Christmas card/blog post. Want to read my MOST VIRAL POST EVER!? Subscribe here to keep getting my posts straight to your inbox!