I am a packrat. But living in a 1000 SF house has taught me the value of space. There is no reason why my 2 dogs and I cannot live comfortably in this house.
When I married, my wedding was awesome. I had a dress that made me feel like a princess. Literally, when I put it on, the ladies in the bridal shop stopped to look at me. A young child in the hotel came up to me as I was walking to my reception hall and asked if she could meet me, since I was a princess. Yeah, I was in heaven! My wedding band was platinum with diamonds. My gifts included 12 full place settings of china and nice silverware and glasses with silver rims. I didn’t have outlandishly fancy china—it was affordable as far as china goes—but it was a dream for me to ever be important enough to deserve those kinds of things.
When my marriage ended, just 1-1/2 years later, I was devastated. My dream-like existence was shattered. I held onto that dress and that ring and that china, because it symbolized my dream.
A year or so later, the local church was taking donations for clothes to give away. Wedding dresses were accepted. I knew in my heart that holding onto that dress was pointless—it symbolized a failed marriage. But it was a piece of my past that I didn’t like letting go of. After soul searching, I finally decided I needed to get rid of it—for many reasons. So I donated it. The girl who won it at the bridal auction didn’t seem to hold it with such reverence as I. I think it may have really been too big for her. I was sad to see it go to someone who didn’t see the $620 dress as being important. But I no longer had any say in the future of that dress.
Then, I was in a financial hole and had been out of a job. I needed cash to make a mortgage payment. I had money coming in the next month because I was working again, but didn’t have it at the time the mortgage was due. I pulled out my wedding band, and again I struggled. I knew I would never own a piece of jewelry that nice again. I took it to my brother in law, who shined it up and found a buyer for it. I sold it for $1,000, knowing it was worth about $7,500. But my mortgage was more important than a ring I didn’t wear.
I gave my mom the china hutch that was taking up too much room in my house, and told her she could leave the china in it, but I wasn’t giving her the china. One day I went to her house and she was using the china. My heart skipped a beat. But then, I realized—better to be used than sitting in a case. Now, she uses it when guests visit.
Giving up those things helped me to let go of a lot more than material items. By holding onto them, I held onto a dream that had fallen through. But, I didn’t need any of it anymore. Since then, I find parting with material things much easier than it used to be. I have few possessions that are so precious to me now. So many others have so little. The least I can do is give away what I don’t use.