I’m almost at the end of another de-cluttering session. When I say session I mean a period of about 4 or 5 days over the last month. Most of the things I’ve been getting rid of have generated thoughts like “What was I thinking?” or “WTF!”.
Then I got to thinking about those days spent moving my stuff around, the time spent deciding what to do with it, the petrol spent ferrying unwanted bags of it to charity shops and the totally knackered and unrecyclable to the dump. All that time and energy devoted to stuff. It wasn’t productive time or fun time, although there was the satisfaction of seeing a pristine empty space at the end of it all. But what if I didn’t have that stuff to begin with, what if the money I spent on it had bought experiences instead? £15 spent on a few magazines could have bought admission to a beautiful garden on a lovely day with enough left over for a coffee or two. Then I would have had the experience and memories of sniffing roses (I can’t keep my nose out of them – I see a rose, I’ve got to sniff it), chatting to fellow visitors, snapping away at a few favourites and getting inspiration for my own flower beds. Instead my £15 bought me some shiny printed paper which is currently languishing at the bottom of my recycling bin.
|Me after my first Gliding lesson|
£30 for a glossy coffee table book on photography could have been put towards the petrol for a pre dawn trip to the Jurassic Coast to photograph Durdle Door at sunrise. You probably get where I’m going with this. The money used to buy pointless stuff could have bought something much more precious instead – memories, a connection with people and nature. Where is the money now? On it’s way down the road in a huge refuse lorry.
My lovely blog friend Ilona of Mean Queen fame has the right idea. She regularly goes on what she calls a ‘Bimble’. She picks a location and either walks or drives to it and then has a bimble around looking at local landmarks, she chats to practically everyone she meets and records her experiences on her camera for her blog. She’s got hundreds of followers eager to read what she’s been up to. I don’t think any of us would read her blog if all she posted about was what she read in a magazine or how much stuff she bought last week (actually she’s far too canny to spend her money on rubbish). No, all we want to read about are her experiences, to feel that connection when she writes about somewhere we’ve been to as well.
|My first Bungee jump – backwards!|
|Me hanging around in space|
|Coming back down to earth and raring to do it again!|
So why do we fill our lives with stuff? Have we been lazy and not worked out life for ourselves? Have we handed our decision making over to advertising companies who tell us our lives would be better if we bought x, y or z. I can tell you that x, y or z can’t give you a hug when you’re feeling down, selflessly leave you the last choccy biccie or leave a romantic post it on the fridge door. I’m now looking at my lovely empty spaces and I’m determined to fill them with laughter, clinking coffee cups and spontaneous ukulele lessons.