As a family of six, the amount of stuff we have is unreasonable. I can take the blame for most of the things that come into our home, as my kids are still very little.
I came to America, “The Land of the Free,” as a five year old from an impoverished country. We did not have much when my parents and three older siblings arrived here legally. My father worked in construction for years, before he was able to petition the rest of us. As soon as we arrived, my mother was hired as a maid in a five-star hotel. We lived paycheck to paycheck. I knew we didn’t have much money, but we were never hungry nor lacked any of the basic necessities. My mother made sure of that.
As a child, I remember not having many toys, nor having many clothes. I wore hand me downs from my sister who was 4 years older, considerably taller and larger than myself. I was short, scrawny and drowning in her clothes. Stuff wasn’t something we had a lot of. As an adult, I accepted secondhand items from friends and took home free things from stores, even though I didn’t need them.
I have to classify myself as an “I may need it later” type of person. Most of my things have no real monetary value. I’ve kept them, because I’m going to use it for a craft project, or the kids can use them, or I can sell that later! I’ve had tons of excuses, but I realize it’s time to let most of them go.
As I clean up, I find myself going through a journey. An amazing relief and an exciting feeling overcomes me as I find items I haven’t thought of in years. I’ve already donated 8 garbage bags full of clothes – mostly mine and my husband’s – to a local ministry who gives them away to the poor for free. I’ve placed small pieces of furniture on the sidewalk with a “FREE” sign and they’re usually gone within a couple of hours.
I still have a long way to go, but I’m excited at the progress I’ve already made. This isn’t just the physical aspect of how tidy my house is becoming, but I’m also not as worried or as anxious as I used to be. I can feel my mind freeing up!