I was raised with the mentality that if something can be used, you don’t throw it away. My father’s parents raised him this way, having lived through the Great Depression. They saved everything. Bread ties. Empty jars. Old boxes. And my father never strayed away from this lifestyle. He attempted to instill this mindset in all of his children, and as much as I told myself I never wanted to be a hoarder, I’ve come to realize that’s exactly what I am.
Not only do I save things that can be repurposed, I also form sentimental attachments to my belongings. From ticket stubs to old newspapers to receipts and old bills, I feel an unnecessary connection to almost everything I own. Perhaps it’s because I want to remember every stage of my life. And there are wonderful memories associated with certain items. I want to preserve these memories and save them forever. But as I’ve been coming to grips with lately, it’s unnecessary to hold onto material objects for the sake of remembering. Those memories exist whether we keep mementos or not. All these objects do is create clutter and unnecessary mess, which in turn causes mental clutter and anxiety.
These past few days, I’ve been going through and disposing of hundreds of my material possessions. Do I really need 25 coffee mugs? 18 newspapers from four years ago? The answer is simply no. I don’t need those things. I merely have a hard time letting go of stuff. But I don’t want to be tied down and suffocated by my things. I don’t want to keep stuff just because it came from someone special, even if I never use said object. I’ve been thinking more clearly about what I need and what I don’t need, and letting go of things has helped me feel considerably lighter.
It’s proven true in my life that the less clutter I have in my living space, the less clutter I have in my mind. And slowly allowing myself to let go of material objects has helped me realize what’s truly important in this life. The more you get rid of, the easier it is to get rid of things. I shouldn’t feel sentimentally attached to every single thing I own. If I’m not using it on a regular basis, it’s not necessary for me to have. And adopting a more minimalist mindset has done wonders for my anxious, unfocused mind.