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What’s Behind the Fear of Parting with “Stuff”?

Yesterday I spoke about my thoughts on “Adopting the Minimalist Approach”, a subject which I feel quite strongly about for my own life, and although the concept is to “minimise” the material and emotional baggage in our lives, I have reached the conclusion that to minimise is, well, rather a complex subject.

Although we say we want to discard the unwanted material “stuff” in our homes, we don’t always actually take the action to do it…

What is it that we are so afraid of?

Let me tell you about the emotional tug o’ war I experienced myself, just this week, when sorting through the unused clothing hanging in my own wardrobe ~

Tucked away, right at the far end of the hanging rack, I had a long sleeved blouse, a gift from my mother; a short sleeved blouse, a gift from my father, and a knitted beige top, another gift from my father. When these items were newer, I wore them constantly. Each item, in its turn, had once been a much loved article of clothing.

Now, these clothes were yellowing, and smelled “musty”. Why? My mother has been gone nearly seventeen years, and my father, nearly twelve years!

“Who am I kidding”, I asked myself, “by hanging onto these clothes, will it bring my parents back??”

The truth of the matter is, if my parents were able, they would be the first to tell me to get rid of the clothes…and now I have.

What other excuses do we make to ourselves, you know, the self-talk moments we all have, when trying to justify why we can’t let go? ‘I might wear it/need it again one day’ or ‘I’ll fit into it again, when I lose weight’ or even ‘it’ll cost so much to replace it’.

I’m as guilty as the next person, I procrastinate when it comes time for the big clean out. But you know something? Once you start tossing that unwanted stuff into bags or boxes, momentum kicks in…The more you part with, the easier it gets!

Every time I get rid of more stuff, I feel liberated, and lighter. It’s like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. I keep on going back to admire the clean, neat, tidy and emptier cupboards!

Getting rid of unwanted “stuff” fills me with a sense of achievement.

Another gigantic plus to owning less clothing is…a smaller ironing pile! More time away from the ironing board! Now, you can’t complain about that, can you? I’m not! 🙂

Every action we take should be motivated by the question of how this is going to improve our life.

With less clutter in our life ~ we can breathe more easily; it lifts the burden of the “excess weight” of material possessions.

When the clutter has been removed ~ it opens up the “space” around us, both physically and emotionally, making way for fresh, new, wonderful experiences to find us.

When the clothing is minimised ~ we spend less time deciding what to wear (and the ironing pile is smaller! 🙂 )

If you are planning on minimising the “stuff” that is blocking the flow of your life, I encourage you to ask yourself what it is that is holding you back from letting go. And be honest with yourself.

And if all else fails, think about how happy dogs are. All they ask for is food, shelter, love and a kind word. They don’t need any of the “stuff” we humans accumulate, but they are happy.

How about making yourself a little happier too? 🙂

4 thoughts on “What’s Behind the Fear of Parting with “Stuff”?

  1. I NEVER have any trouble discarding and downsizing. I pity anyone who is attached to stuff to a point of not being able to part with it. One day, we may all have to part with much more than we ever thought possible and we MUST be in practice.


  2. I think most people can relate to this post. I still have heaps of stuff from my mother and farther who have long passed away and I keep holding onto the stuff for the memories that I cherish. The points that you raise are very true I have already started some decluttering of my outdoor shed and found that to be liberating getting rid of junk and stuff that I never use. I need to get ruthless and really get honest with myself to see if I can let go. Your analogy about the dog is true we have a beautiful Golden Retriever and all she craves for is love and attention.


  3. Heather ~ It’s just the sentimental stuff that tugs at my heart-strings, the rest I can ( and do) part with when I decide it’s no longer useful. It’s kinda scary when you see people who are being buried by the stuff they have no use for, but won’t part with. Some deeper emotional problems going on perhaps.

    Stan ~ The shed is a good start! You really hit the nail on the head with ‘ruthlessness’ and ‘honesty’. I’ll remember that…thanks! 🙂

    I think I’ll be writing some more about animals. We can lern so much from them, and I love Golden Retrievers!


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