15 Reasons to Get Rid of Stuff (When Preparing to Turn 40)

I have approximately ten months to prepare for my 40th birthday. I want forty to be something to look forward to, and why shouldn't it be? 

Forty is the beginning of a new decade! I haven't started a new decade in, like, ten years, so I'm due. The last few years of my thirties have just dragged on, dragging me and my hopes down with it. Something has got to give and I know what it is -- me! 

Therefore, my wish/goal ten months from now is to start the next forty years of life without so much dust-collecting, space-taking, anxiety-inducing, memory-saving, life-sucking stuff from the first forty years. It's time to really clean house.

No one can make this wish come true but me, so that's why it is a goal and not just a wish. It takes work and it is not easy work, as I have already started the process of parting with sentimental items that I just can't keep holding on to any longer.

Stuff is a bandage; it takes powerful force and determination to rip it away. It's a force not everyone can handle by themselves and I know why -- it hurts! 

Just like when a bandage is ripped from the flesh, sometimes taking skin and hair with it, stuff is no different; you feel part of you go with it as it gets ripped away. 

And when your stuff ends up in the garbage for the dump, it hurts to think part of you is going to the dump with your worthless stuff that you loved for so long. 

But, this is just stuff. STUFF! 

S-t-u-f-f; five letters, that's all. 

Stuff is inanimate; it doesn't bleed, it doesn't cry, it doesn't go to college, it doesn't have a career or start a family, it doesn't meow, it doesn't undergo surgery...but it takes hold of a person as if it were a life force that must be preserved forever and ever and ever. How is this not crazy, people? 

It is totally, 100%, completely crazy, but that's humans for you. If humans weren't crazy they wouldn't be humans. 

Craziness aside, it doesn't change the fact that getting rid of stuff is not easy for a lot of people, myself included; and yet, getting rid of stuff is something that absolutely must be done throughout one's life in order to not become buried in one's own stuff. 

So, since bandages have to be ripped away from time to time, I wanted to share my own reasons that I tell myself to help me stick to my guns when it comes to getting rid of stuff. 

These aren't in any particular order of importance; every item is different to part with and it's different for every person when they are in that moment; the most important thing is being prepared mentally to better handle the situation. 

1.  When I get rid of this, I will literally and finally 'let it go.'

2.  When I get rid of this, I make room for something new when it presents itself.

3.  When I get rid of this, I don't have to clean or organize it any more.

4.  When I get rid of this, I don't have to pack it up or move it again.

5.  When I get rid of this, I free myself up to do something else.

6.  When I get rid of this, it will no longer own me.

7.  When I get rid of this, the memories I don't want will go with it.

8.  When I get rid of this, it will allow me to move forward.

9.  When I get rid of this, I will feel relieved.

10.  When I get rid of this, it will be easier to get rid of the next thing and the next.

11.  When I get rid of this, I won't be leaving it for someone else to get rid of.

12.  When I get rid of this, I will be less overwhelmed and less anxious.

13.  When I get rid of this, I will be doing the thing I think I can't do. 

14.  When I get rid of this, it will empower me when I face other challenges.

15.  When I get rid of this, I will become what I might be.

Thank you for reading!

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Cristina said…
Hi, Eve! Have you been reading Marie Kondo, too, or do all people who clean and organize for a living come to similar conclusions about stuff?

I totally understand what you mean about "dust-collecting, space-taking, anxiety-inducing, memory-saving, life-sucking stuff." I didn't start seeing my book collection that way until a year and a half ago, when my family made a big move, and all I could think was: Why do I need all this stuff anyway? There were a few that I knew I would reread one day (and have reread since then!) . . . but many more that I knew I never would. I started by giving away a hundred mass market paperbacks. But that was barely a start.

Your fifteenth reason -- "When I get rid of this, I will become what I might be" -- is my favorite. I should start saying that to myself more!


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