Can we talk about STUFF for a minute??  ALL the stuff – The furniture, clothes, toys, electronics, dishware, decorations, craft supplies, memorabilia …

We are a consumption society – always wanting the latest and the greatest.  I’m guilty too – I love shopping for stuff!

But despite “the energy of stuff” being a big part of my Feng Shui business, I’ve NEVER been more aware of the COST of all the stuff than I am right now.

My Mom passed a few years ago. My Dad passed in April. Right now, my sister and I are getting my parent’s house ready for sale…

And it’s full of stuff!

If I could give you one message from what I’m in the middle of, it’s to consider the TRUE cost of all your stuff…

I’m not just talking about the price you paid for it, because it’s so much more than that.  Here’s what else to keep in mind:

The space, the time, the energy, and the money it costs just to possess it all

We just met with a Realtor who showed us the home value, taxes, etc.  It turns out that my parents had been paying extra taxes on a finished basement and a storage shed in the yard for years …

But the sad part is this ‘taxable real estate’ wasn’t being used for living, it was used to store stuff that didn’t fit in their life anymore.

How much money were they spending over the years just to store all those unused and unloved items?

What are you missing out on because of the stuff?

So here’s the thing about my parents, no matter how hard anyone tried to rally them, or how much help was offered, they just couldn’t deal with the stuff. It was this huge project, looming over everyone for years.

I’d like to say that my parents were off enjoying life and too busy living to deal with it, but they weren’t.  They were saddled by all the stuff – physically, energetically, emotionally and financially.

If not for the daunting weight of dealing with the stuff first, would they have traveled more, moved, had more fun?  Who knows??

There’s a cost to releasing it all when you’re finally ready.  

Here’s the real kicker – there’s a price tag to clear it all out, regardless of whether it’s being kept, donated or trashed:

  • Money to rent a dumpster or pay someone to haul it all out
  • Special fees to dispose of electronics, mattresses and hazardous materials
  • Days of lost wages while sorting, organizing, donating, trashing and moving it
  • Immense output of time, energy and emotion for all involved
  • Storage fees for the things there’s no time to go through yet
  • Tankfuls of gas to get there, back and make donation drop offs

And above all that, there’s been a huge emotional toll on every one of us:    Lost sleep, added stress, financial pressure, disagreements …. We’re strong knit family, but through this process our relationships have been seriously put to the test.

Losing money over stuff is one thing.  Losing health or relationships is a totally different kind of cost.

In the end, I have faith that we’ll get through this.  (The only way out is through.)

But there’s a whole new awareness for me about the cost of stuff and what I’m willing to pay in the long run for the things I keep.

Keeping it light …

In our house, I feel like we stay on top of our stuff pretty well.  (We’ve moved around a lot, so staying light has been important.)

For starters, I really think things through before I bring anything in.  It there’s no clear space for it, or clear purpose in having it, then why take it on at all?! (Truth be told, hubby and kids aren’t always on board with this, so I’m not saying it’s easy!)

Second, we’re good at not letting things accumulate.  At least twice a year we cull things out – selling or donating things while they’re still good quality.  (Again, not always easy to get the kids in on this but they’ve been in on the cleanout at my parent’s house and now they’re much more aware of the impact!!)

The third thing is something I need to work on.  The real solution is to just stop consuming so much stuff!!!

Yesterday, Steve and I went to the store – a rare event in these covid-19 times!  We had money in hand and had missed the shopping experience for months. I wandered around the store but didn’t end up buying.  Every time I picked something up, I thought about my parent’s house and what we’re going through right now to clean it out.  The cost of the item immediately multiplied in my mind based on all of the above factors … So I’d put it back down and walk away.

I think I’ll take a break from stuff for a while!  Maybe I’ve convinced you to do that too;)