Now that the non-holiday cobwebs are slowly leaving my foggy lack-of-sleep brain, I have to get back to reality of life here in The Hague. That reality is that we are moving away from here to set up life in the Swiss/French border due to my DH’s new job.
I’ve been planning lunches with old friends, talking shop with business contacts and almost oblivious that moving day is coming closer. It took my friend Michelle to look me in the eye and say to me,
“Honey, you’re moving in 2 months! You have a big family so you have so much to go through! Now get going!”
How right is she! Now despite relocating every 2-4 years, I still own many things, collectibles like paintings and rugs, which to others are not conducive to this lifestyle. I have folders and folders of my 2 girls artwork for example, from my DD1’s childish doodles 10 years ago to current ‘masterpieces’. I have also kept books from school, more than 20 yrs ago. There’s something about perusing through Romeo and Juliet or Animal Farm with the numerous notations in the sidebars. And being a family of book lovers, we barely throw away books that we bought. I have also kept many things from DD1 that was passed on to DD2 and will soon go to DS3.
This is where opportunity for change can come in. I’ve always maintained that I don’t like waste and like recycling so hand-me-downs are great. Waiting until birth to find out the sex of our last child, I can finally set my mind what needs to be put away and what can stay. My children are very lucky to be blessed with many gifts of beautiful clothes and fancy toys that wherever we live, it’s always overflowing with them.
For someone who loves collecting, I also find it important to go through our possessions periodically to get a sense of what we own and throw away what aren’t necessary in our lives. I have been doing just that the last few days. Finally took Michelle’s advice and started with my kids clothes. There is something very cathartic about this exercise I must admit.
Picking up every single item of dress or pants or top, looking for stains, I thought about how much they cost originally, who gave or bought them, how much wear did they get out of it and other memories attached to it. It brought me tears as much as smiles. But we all know, those memories in our mind are worth more than keeping sacks of those ‘memories’ in our house.
It’s also liberating to give! I found out that a kindly and honest woman takes all your unwanted items to orphanages/children’s home in Romania. I’ve arranged for her to take those 5 black bin bags full of baby/children’s clothes, toys and other bits and bobs from various parts of my cavernous house. I feel peaceful to know that other unfortunate children will be able to create new memories with my children’s old belongings.
It’s not only giving that’s liberating. Just the act of periodically releasing ourselves of material possessions, possessions that we own for the sake of buying them, not for their intrinsic value, gives that peaceful feeling in your mind.
Oprah Winfrey once stated on her show that when it comes to many of our possessions, if you haven’t used it, remembered it or even looked at it in the past 3 years, then you don’t need it. It clicked in my head and I have tried to live by that adage since.
Have you been periodically releasing the shackles of material possessions? Was it just as liberating for you as it is for me? Share your experience with me!