Tag Archives: possessions

It’s MY house…

NewDeck2

Or is it?

We speak so possessively of our homes and our things. “This is my house.” “This is my couch.” “Molly is my dog.”  As if the house, couch or dog were really ours to own.

Even if you built the house yourself stick by stick, if you built it well it will live long after you’ve moved on. Someone else will call it “my house.”  The couch existed before you bought it and you hope will be useful to a new owner after you’re done with it.  And think about it:  is your dog really yours?

As I try to loosen my attachment to “my” house and “my” things, it seems helpful to step back from the whole possessive pronoun description of it all.  Many languages describe our relationship to stuff quite differently – “the house of me” – which is more like “the house I’m in relationship with” than something that I have dominion over and is part of me.

Before I came to live in the house of me, which was built in 1972, three other families lived here. After I move out, other families will consider it theirs. And I hope they treat it with the reverence I feel for it.

Thinking of myself as just one in a line of people who live here for awhile, (slightly) eases the pain I feel knowing I must relinquish the house sooner than later.  And I can even rejoice that “my” books will soon be the books of new readers.

After all, in the grand scheme of the universe and over an infinite period of time, me, my house and my stuff   are barely specks.

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Filed under Attachment - Vairagya, Downsizing, Emotional issues, Inspiration & encouragement

Possessed by possessions: are you the owner or the owned?

“Things are in the saddle and ride mankind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You remember the thrill of the hunt for a new possession? You hear about a cool new gizmo. You think “I need to get me one of those…”

So you do the google hunt, find the best price, type out your credit card number and drag that sucker home.

You wear, sit on, look at, or labor-save with the new possession, feeling quite smug about your excellent taste. Your friends may even envy you a little for getting this new possession.

Time passes. More gizmos and whatchamacallits enter your life. Some of them break. You get bored with others.

One day you wake up and realize you’ve been possessed. Your possessions have taken over your life and now they own you!

You’re exhausted trying to keep them dusted, repaired, organized, and their batteries charged. You’ve lost crucial parts, operating manuals. And who are those people with granny glasses and bell-bottom trousers  in the yellowing photographs?

You can’t find the one thing you really need.

Then the kids leave home, your retirement fund collapses and you need to make some major adjustments to your lifestyle.

Bye bye acquiring, hello downsizing.

Even though I live relatively clutter-free, I’ll be rattling around a 3,000 sq. ft house alone when my last child leaves next month. I can no longer afford to maintain a place this big – and indeed, even if I could afford to, I don’t want to be tied down by so much stuff, so much responsibility.

I want to take back my life from my possessions.

I want to sell this place and find some place no more than half this size…

Which means that HALF my possessions need to GO.

If you’ve done this or are doing this, let me hear from you!Advice, moral support and tips from your own experience always welcome. Maybe you’ve got ideas about selling art? antiques? Dealing with boxes of photos, big honking scrapbooks.

Together we can do this.

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Filed under 101 Reasons to Downsize, Back Story, Downsizing, Priorities

Poor me: from posh to pauper

Poor: adj. characterized by poverty, lacking an adequate supply, exciting pity

Posh: adj. typical of or intended for the upper classes

Pauper: n. a person with little or no money, a person destitute of means except such as are derived from charity

I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself. And really, I don’t because I have so so much for which to be grateful.

BUT.

In the space of a few months my situation has gone from middle class comfortable to precarious. If I didn’t know that there are millions of others like me out there, I’d be totally freaked out. With each plunge of the markets (stock and housing) I watch my life savings flutter away into the skies like the autumn leaves I just raked on Re-wind.

I always knew that some day I’d need to move into smaller digs. At times, when the yard work or home upkeep seems overwhelming, I actually look forward to living in a tiny place.  But like so many, I envisioned that time to be years in the future.

Now it appears that time is upon me.

The question is: how do I get from where I am today – in this comfy house full of family treasures (including my mother’s baby grand piano and antique dining table, boxes of photos, framed art) – to the small digs I can afford?

It’s one thing to downsize when you can get a decent price for the stuff you must jettison in the process.  It’s something else when you have to unload valuable things at a big loss (like my house – my biggest investment!).  In another five or ten years my kids might live in large or permanent enough spaces to take these precious family heirlooms, but the stuff can’t wait.  That hurts.

All the kids will be here for Christmas, so maybe they’ll have some good ideas about my down-sizing plan. Or maybe I’ll just have Santa bring me a sugar daddy.

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Filed under Downsizing, Selling stuff

Piles of possessions: George Carlin on “Stuff”

Inspire yourself to clear clutter with a comedy act from the late great George Carlin. Watch his routine on “Stuff” and see yourself reflected.

I love this line:”A house is just a cover for your piles of stuff !”

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Filed under Practical feng shui

Purging excess possessions: 3 easy steps

Why would you want to purge your excess possessions? Let me count the ways…

No, actually I’m not going to enumerate them right now; it’s too depressing. I’ll just say that we Americans have a serious Possessions Problem, and it’s choking our ch’i.

So if you’re looking around your place feeling stuck, stagnant, stale and stupefied, consider purging. Here are the four most basic steps.

  1. Stop clutter at the front door. Prevention is always the best strategy! Only buy what you need and have a predestined place for. Stop going to garage sales. Throw out junk mail before it settles on the kitchen table. As catalogs arrive, call their 800 number and ask to be removed from their lists. Accept other people’s stuff only if you really need it. If you acquire a new piece of furniture, let go of a piece of furniture that someone else can use. Ditto with clothing. Recycle or compost early and often.
  2. Tackle small chunks at a time. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead by biting off manageable chunks. Set a timer for fifteen minutes and choose one drawer, one shelf or one category of clothing. Do this for fifteen minutes every day and you’ll see remarkable progress in no time.
  3. As you approach each item, ask yourself these questions:
    • Do I love it?
    • Do I need it?
    • Do I use it?
    • Does it enhance my life? (or does my heart sink when I see it?)

Then sort your things into 4 piles or boxes for dealing with. Mark the boxes Yes YES!; Yes, but…; No, but…; and No NO!

  • Yes yes! I love it and I need it, it works and it’s useful
  • Yes, but… I love, need, use it – but it needs fixing or is in the wrong location
  • No, but… Someone else should have it (Goodwill, relative, friend, Ebay)
  • No no! Toss it out (or recycle)

If you get stuck, enlist a dispassionate friend to help. Trade time. Or pay if you must. Their job is to keep you focused, to cheer you on, to help you realistically assess value (or lack therof), and to ask you the hard questions: “Do you honestly think you’ll be a size 8 again?” “Do you really believe your children will want that?”

You CAN do this. And you’ll feel sooooo much better. (I just finished de-cluttering my bedroom and home office and I feel like a new woman.)

Lather, rinse, repeat. (This is an ongoing process, not a state of perfection. Sorry)

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Filed under Downsizing, Envisioning a simpler life, Inspiration & encouragement, Practical feng shui