I tossed a table today. It was ratty and made me cringe every time I looked at it. The only reason I accepted it was because at the time nothing better was available and I felt that I needed it.
I tossed that table today even though I have yet to locate a replacement. I tossed it once I realized that it was better to do without than to constantly look at something I hate.
Sometimes we get things just because we think we need them. Other times we hold on to things we hate for the exact same reason.
We are all much too beautiful to hoard garbage; too precious to dress in rags. When we keep stuff like that we are telling ourselves that we don’t deserve any better – we are sending out a signal that says “I don’t deserve to own something that I love.”
As a child I watched my grandfather dress in tatters. When he died I was astounded to discover boxes and drawers stuffed full of clothing still in the original packaging when we cleaned out his home. I discovered that the whole family had spent small fortunes on clothes that he refused to wear.
His reasoning was that his old clothes weren’t worn out enough to throw away. Despite the holes and the rips he dressed in those rags and hid the good stuff away. He saved those clothes “just in case” he needed them – and died wearing rags instead.
All of us have a habit of doing this, of using the rags and hoarding the riches or just using the rags, period. We forget that we are special and that we deserve to enjoy our lives and so we “make do” instead.
Minimalism frees us from this concept. When we only keep what we need there is no point in saving the good stuff “just in case.” We can use the good stuff and eliminate the rest.
Had my grandfather applied minimalism to his life he could have used his “regular” clothes to start fires and dressed much better than he ever did. If my father had done that he could have actually enjoyed his favorite suit while still living instead of leaving it sit in a closet until he was buried in it.
Minimalism allows me the freedom to eliminate clothes that do not fit, items that have worn out…
…and tables so ratty that I’m embarrassed to own them.
As you look around your house today choose one thing that you are embarrassed to own (that pair of stained underwear, the shoes your dog chewed on, that hideous lamp given to you by your Great Auntie Whoever) and get rid of it. Toss it in the trash, carry it out to the curb, break it up and toss it in the fire – do whatever it takes to get that one thing out of your life right now.
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