I didn't participate in any of the '40 Days/ 40 Bags' type things this year because I feel like I am always getting rid of stuff and I don't need the motivation of Lent to help me purge. My goal is to get rid of more than I am bringing into this house. It's not always easy.
Just last night I was laying in bed thinking about the six bags I had just dropped off at the thrift store when I was hit with sadness over one of the items that I choose to part with. This item had sat in my closet, unused for over four years, and yet it was a gift and I suddenly felt like I was betraying the person who gave it to me by sending it to a new home. I thought about running down to the thrift store when it opened today to reclaim the item. Then I could bring it come and... Put it back in my closet? Leave it out where it would be in the way? Store it in a different place?
I panic I felt over losing this item was immediately replaced with the disgust of having the item unused for so many years. Another family could be blessed by my unused items. This item could have been being used every day for the last four years and yet here it sat in my closet gathering dust amongst the sheets and boxes.
Our extra items could benefit those who have less than us. But it is difficult to part with stuff because our culture values what you can see. It's like a consumer plague that sweeps the nation. Get it, store it, get it, store it. Even if you don't need it, who cares? It's the right price and you may need it someday. Tuck it away for later.
Here I was holding onto physical proof of a friend. Somehow keeping the item made our relationship, although distant, more real. I was valuing the material object over the things that truly make our relationship real: memories and love. I don't need physical proof of a relationship, or of a shared experience, or of love. That item is staying at the thrift store and hopefully it will find a new home outside of a closet. An uncluttered life is filled with things you can not see: love and friendship and experiences.
With the way this baby rocks a snowsuit, he is definitely a keeper!