Living lighter and stuff

By TERESA HAMMOND
This month’s column is not what you’d expect. The photos chosen to accompany it tell quite the story. In short they give a visual to the title ‘lighter.’

Indeed I am ‘lighter’ in the physical sense. The exterior which the world sees is visibly lighter than the day I wore that dress 10 years ago.

That is the dress I wore for my daughter’s baby shower. She turned 10 this past June.

For the better part of the past five years, each year, two weeks before her birthday we’d pull it on – together. Then we’d giggle and I’d reminisce with her on the anticipation of her birth and the day I wore that dress.

This year, as she reached 10, we both decided it was time to fit that dress to my current body. The body that fit the dress in its original form, is happily a decade behind me. Yet regardless of what the world saw, thought or judged a decade ago, I’m grateful to that body and the dress which wrapped around it.

This is part of being ‘lighter.’

In an earlier issue I shared recent fascination with purging in the way of stuff and releasing ‘things.’ It’s been an ongoing revelation, which has proved to be more beneficial and enlightening than anticipated.

I’m not a hoarder type, as one might suppose based on the fact that this purge idea of mine began in mid-December of 2016. It’s been a slow and purpose driven break-up with things. As weeks have ticked by and seasons changed, so too has the focus. Just about everything and anything has been revisited with the question – why am I holding on to this?

Slowly, yet surely, every inch of our home is being assessed and reassessed. From cabinets to drawers to storage bins and seasonal clothes – everything is up for question.

Most recently I challenged my kids to each go to their room and purge a bit themselves. The words of guidance were simple – if you haven’t touched it in over a year, it’s safe to say good-bye.

Now I must admit, it was not that cut and dry. They are young and there is sentiment in their rooms, as well as our home, so some items were spared.

For the most part we have rid our home of toys untouched, clothing which has occupied space and not seen daylight, as well as cabinet and desk clutter.

The crazy thing and why I’ve chosen to share this, is the lightness we felt in our home as we continued to cleanse our space of excessive stuff. Now granted, I get that sounds a bit new age and far out and truthfully we did not anticipate it. Yet one day as we took another couple of bags to our local donation center, we came home and our house seemed more peaceful.

I confess, we still have cabinets stacked with board games. Holiday bins storing goodies remain in our garage and I still have clothes stored by season; I didn’t go completely off the edge.

What I love most about this year of purge we’ve embraced is the eye-opening lesson that it really is just stuff. I also love that we didn’t approach it as a fire sale of sorts and expected ourselves to get through it all in a set period of time. It’s an ongoing process.

The past six years of our lives, I’ve worked hard at making our family focus be more on memories not things. We buy less in the way of “wants” and we ultimately have more in the way of money to travel, embark on adventure and create lifelong memories. The purge has been a great reminder of this.

So now as we go forward into the holiday season and as you turn the pages of our Best of 209 section, think of the two as one and the same. Make this holiday season the “best of” those which have come before it. Focus less on the stuff that will likely find a corner, a cubby or a bin in a handful of months and more on the memories which will feed the soul for years to come.

There really is much to gain from living lighter.

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