Today officially marks the beginning of The Year of Letting Go of Stuff. My wife Maggie and I have tried for years to eliminate the clutter in our lives. We know that maintaining stuff separates us from joy, from life, and from God. To this end we have spent decades of letting go, getting back, and letting go.
Within the last two years we’ve upped the pace of letting go of stuff. We’ve let go of our two living room futons leaving us with one rocker in our living room. We’ve let go of ten boxes of books. We’ve let go of some of our school yearbooks and other mementos. We let go of all our televisions, only to buy a new one 18-months later. We let go of college notes from 25-plus years ago. Fading posters from going away parties. Rubber bands. Old phones dead electronics. Record albums, cassette tapes, and old newspapers saved for unknown reasons.
But today we are choosing to increase the pace of divesting ourselves of stuff. Instead of building barns, we will strive to be rich toward God:
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” Luke 12: 13-21 NRSV
To “keep us honest” we will be listing on this blog each of the items we let go. Some days, we will likely keep all our stuff. Other days, we will get rid of many items. From time to time we will blog about our experience. How did it feel to let go of that treasured item, that dusty trinket, or that annoying toy. Keep us honest. The rules are simple: 1) Some items will be grouped; 2) The item must not be replaced during The Year of Letting Go of Stuff or it must be added back in…twice. 3) Items get listed the day they go in the give-away box. Oh, and kind-of an unwritten rule is that whenever possible the item must be given to someone we think would appreciate or value the item.
Please let us know if you think we’re slacking in our effort to eliminate at least 1000 big and small items by this time next year.
Today we let go of…
1. small battery operated alarm clock
2. AM/FM clock radio
3. 3 small “antique” trinkets
4-7. 4 books we have not looked at for years
8. a help video
9. 1 full dresser drawer of AAA maps and Tourbooks
10. clothes brush/lint catcher
11. a chest of drawers
12. 2 old watches
13. 3 pair of old eyeglasses
14. key chain
15. an old tie
16. several pair of footies
17. an ace bandage
18. two message buttons (“Cherish Children” and the other with a quote on it)
19. one expired Ohio County, West Virginia dog tag from 2006