Last week I was helping my family dismantle my parents’ home. They had resisted all encouragement over the years to downsize while they were still healthy. As a result, they were left with a gargantuan task when they were least able to deal with it. Sorting three stories of 45 years’ accumulation fell to their children. I had only three days to do it.
We ended up hiring an estate company to sort, sell and clean up. The guy who ran the company, Tom Ewart, was a gem. He’s been in the business for over 30 years and had an endless stream of amazing and humorous stories. He says that when he retires, he’s going to write a book about it all. He’s already picked out the title: Hearses Don’t Pull U-Hauls.
Two days later, Paul Douglas, the weather guy for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, echoed this sentiment in his daily column: “In the end, you won’t be thinking about the car you drove or the square footage of your home. It’ll all be about the people you loved, who you helped and the places you’ve been. And data suggests that experiences are more likely to result in happiness and satisfaction than consumption. The cheap high from buying things wears off quickly, while the effects of socializing and vacations endure.”
I’ve never been too much of a “stuff” person. I live in a 500 square foot apartment. So when I came home with a van full of Stuff from my parents’ house and unloaded into my place, it looked like a bomb went off in there. The clutter instantly became a strain on my mental health. (Did you know that the word ‘clutter’ comes from a Dutch word that means ‘clot’? Clutter in your environment actually leads to energy clots and stagnation.) In the end, however, it has had a good effect. I am removing some of my old junky Stuff and replacing it with newer, more useful items. I am looking at just what it is that I am saving and deciding whether it’s something I am actually using, or just “saving in case”. In case of what?
Moving things along feels good. The Little Free Libraries around my house are filling up. I’m selling some things on-line. Sending others to the second-hand store. There is more energy flow in my house. Hallelujah.