The Unexpected Benefits of Getting Rid of Your Stuff
About three years ago my family (husband, toddler, 2 rescue dogs, and myself) decided to uproot and live in a few different countries over a 10-15 year span because we like the idea of being in a place for a few years to really get to know it.
This meant that we had to get rid of heaps of stuff (a 4 bedroom house’s worth of furniture, a car, a motorcycle, and all the other knickknacks, clothes, and do-dad’s that one gradually collects over time – how do garages accumulate so much junk?!).
At first the prospect of getting rid of everything and relocating was totally overwhelming, but once I got into it, it became fun. For sure, it felt good to give, sell and donate my things, but there were also a few unexpected surprises.
This week, three years later, I find myself in the same spot again. It’s time for a new home base (all-be-it with a lot less stuff).
Even though I have less downsizing to do this time around, I am reminded of the benefits that I had discovered 3 years ago, plus a few new ones to boot. So, while it’s on the brain, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on and capture what I see as the key benefits of getting rid of your stuff.
Benefit #1: Afford things you DO need
This one is pretty self explanatory.
Want to hire someone to build a website for your coaching business, or someone to design a cover for your upcoming ebook? Great!
Earn the money by selling things you don’t use and investing the money back into your coaching business.
Benefit #2: An excuse to connect in a meaningful and special way
This world needs even more random acts of kindness. If you have something that you don’t use and you can think of someone who will use and possibly even treasure that thing, go give it to them!
The person can be a friend or a total stranger. The act of this considered gift will certainly surprise and most likely delight the intended.
Here are some examples of things I’ve recently gifted:
- I gave my desk to my friend and blogger, Jenny. She will use it to spread joy and inspiration to families who love travel. That is worth way more than what I paid for the desk!
- I gave some of my size 40 (9 US) high heel shoes to the ladyboy who cuts my daughters hair. I know it’s hard to get beautiful women’s heels in larger sizes in most of Asia. She was delighted!
- I gave all of my art supplies to a super talented local artist. He surprised me back by giving me one of his beautiful paintings – I was moved to tears.
- I gave a broach that has been in my family for 4 generations (in a box) to our wonderful cleaning lady. I know that when she gets all dressed up she loves to wear sparkles in her headscarf. No one in the neighbourhood will have one like this!
I now not only have less stuff, but I also have a lasting memory of a special moment of connection with each person I gave something to.
Benefit #3: Save money – the more you get rid of the less you want to buy
Getting rid stuff makes you realize how much you have that you don’t need at all. With this comes a new sense of what value really is to you. As opposed to buying stuff to please others or have to something to do, you consider what you use and need everyday. Everything else is just waste.
Every time I downsize I realize how temporary and superfluous most stuff is. This stays with me when I’m out in the shops and these days I’ve found that I spend more of my money on quality daily living items, like organic foods, and less on things that I’ll probably get rid of the next time I feel like cleaning out.
Benefit #4: Renewed appreciation and gratitude for what’s really important
When you stop focusing on stuff, you have to find other things to focus on. For me this is adventures (big and small) with my family, my personal health and fitness, my coaching business, my pets, my friendships, and to some extent my community.
These things can’t be measured by the cubic meter and yet, are always with me.
What stuff can you get rid of?
So, go through your things. If there is anything you have not used in a year or more, put it into ‘the get rid of’ pile. Then sell it or give it away. Then watch the unexpected benefits roll in.
Perhaps you’ll be able to afford that investment you’ve been wanting to make in your coaching business. Or, maybe you’ll surprise and delight someone, creating a magical, special moment of connection. Maybe you’ll also be inspired to spend less on the things that don’t really stand the test of time and focus even more on the things that really matter to you.