Before I set sail for pastures greener, I went through of period of clearing out my garage and letting go of my “junk”. There was a financial saving in terms of not having to pay for the storage space on an ongoing basis. I’ve probably saved the cost of all of my junk in the period that’s passed. I also got a lump sum from a buyer who wanted the contents of the garage for himself to sell. I held onto some of the more useful and important items for my own possible later use.
It got me thinking about the emotional costs of holding onto old memories and “stuff”, and also of letting go. Occasionally I think about the things that I used to have. The power tools for instance which took me a while to build up a collection.
Pro’s of letting go – less emotional baggage, don’t have to think about my “stuff” too much or organise, catalogue, remember too much – the overhead can become quite onerous. Financial saving, which with storage gets large very quickly, as much as buying the stuff again. Opportunity for new “stuff” to enter one’s life, with well reasoned acquisition.
Con’s of letting go – we get attached to things, items and memories. Just because we’ve physically let them go doesn’t mean they are outside our thinking (or feeling). Things that we would have had to hand, to use (for free), we no longer have.
The past is a mixed bag. There’s usually a combination of positives and negatives. The catalyst for thinking about this was going through a bunch of old photos from over the years. Remembering happy and sad times, and sorting photos into what’s useful for now and the future, and what will go into archive folder.
Bottom line – letting go of the past is often a good thing, leads for a clearer desk and mind. But holding onto things isn’t always a bad thing either. There’s balance that needs to be struck between the two. This balance I feel comes in deciding what’s important to hold onto and what’s not needed anymore.
One could argue this would mean dumping anything negative and keeping anything positive. But I feel that negatives have taught me a lot, and often lessons I should never forget. So just dumping the negatives is a little bit of a naive approach.
I’m very happy that I cleared out my garage, sold it’s contents and relieved myself of the obligation of ongoing financial burden. As for how I feel about it, I haven’t completely let go/forgotten about – I do “miss” some of the things that I let go. After all there was a positive intent in obtaining “stuff” in the first place, isn’t this usually the case ?
One interesting trend I noticed in London is the “Bag Lady” and “The Tramp” (Hobo). Both are vagrants sleeping “rough”, appear to be homeless. However the Tramp, the man has virtually nothing in terms of worldly possession, just the dirty clothes that he stands up in. The Bag Lady however is often seen carrying a bunch of large bag containing who knows what, all of the useful stuff that she finds in the trash presumably. I’ve even seen them pushing shopping trolleys.
Not wishing to make a generalisation or “pick sides”, it is however an interesting trend I noticed about a perhaps feminine and masculine approach to holding onto things.
In conclusion – I’m looking at the holistic approach to having and holding onto things, AND letting them go. Including the pressures and factors that go into making decisions of whether to let go of baggage OR whether it’s not baggage, but useful stuff to keep. Getting rid or keeping is just as applicable and depends on the individual’s equation at the time when a decision is made, be it by free choice or necessity.
Resources & Sources
Bag Lady Photo – agardnerphoto.wordpress.com
Tramp/Hobo Photo – Wikipedia.org
Cluttered Garage Photo – MorgueFile
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55 thoughts on “Garage Clearout – Letting Go Of The Past”
Reblogged this on redsoxlady35 and commented:
Do you realize how much “junk” you can collect when you live in one house for a period of 7 years well neither did I until I moved out of my brothers house into house I’m buying and saw all of the stuff that I needed to go through before I moved to my new place. LOL
Thanks for the reblog hun … and yes it collects over the years !
I find it so interesting that we spend so much time and effort accumulating and then spend yet more time and effort reducing the things accumulated. I’m so glad I only went against my natural minimalist inclinations for a few years, and even so, I still have many things to sort through.
I guess it’s just one of life’s ponderables 🙂
letting go is in case of living beings is wiser… and anyways even if we don’t let them go they had let us go already…
btw.. am having a hot cup of coffee in a black mug cup bought in 2007 @ Rs 165… I don’t quit this black cup as it says KNOCK THE ‘T’ OFF THE CAN’T…. I had fascination for cups(no double meaning) 😛
LOL, you’re funny, a welcome interlude in my replying to 100 comments !
Thanks Sona 🙂
Great post! I wrote about the Great January Roundup recently and concur that clearing out the detritus can be emotional. The useless things that I just can’t let go of tend to become wall-art. After all, if I’m so attached to it that I can’t get rid of it, it might as well serve as art – which, after all, is supposed to make us think beyond the actual item itself…
Sounds like a good use for junk, provided it’s visually appealing junk, not sure I’d want some of my junk hanging on my wall !
For me, I think the emotional baggage is harder to let go of than physical items. Our house is up for sale and I’m truly looking forward to just dumping most everything we have and starting over.
I think there might be a way to do the same thing emotionally, but is anyone really willing to embrace that?
Yes, I believe it’s possible, it’s a similar process internally. As one of my other commenters pointed out it can be painful, that’s why a lot don’t want to do it (including myself often !). The process I feel starts with a decision, a first step which can be challenging, and then walk the walk. Practice makes perfect. …
I hasten to add I’m no expert or perfect example, just sharing my experience 🙂
Yes! Letting go is equally glorious and painful. But it moves us forward. And that’s the only way to go. Thank you for another great post.
Agree … with the caveat that holding on is just as important, it’s learning a balance between the two 🙂 … Something like Jim Carrey’s “Yes Man” were in the end he actually has to start saying no again …
I try to move towards the letting go philosophy. Less materialistic, easier to live in the present.
To a certain extent but we still do need stuff … getting a personal balance is key …
Do you know the worst thing about decluttering and letting go? It’s realising later that you actually need the very thing you let go of. As you said, there is pros and cons.
It’s happened to me more than once … even more frustrating when it wasn’t one’s own choice to be parted from said thing that was important 🙂
I guess you do what you have to do at the time though
At the time and afterwards 🙂
Interesting post … just as relevant to one’s emotional baggage, of course … That pair of vagrants does indeed support the theory that women hang on much more than men – and emotionally, as well. The man has such an interesting face: he is actually very handsome. It makes me wonder how in the name of all the gods he got to where he is(n’t).
Indeed, and yes it’s a thoery or generalisation 😉
If you want to know more about the man a few google searches off of this would yield more info – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alexei_on_the_streets_in_Prague.jpg
Your post is well timed for me. I’m in the process of sorting a house full of “things,” many of them no longer having a practical use. As I sort, I’m constantly reciting: Do I “need” this or simply “want” it? Separating “need” from “want” helps me determine, but even so, some are hard choices.
Get that … it’s tiring too ?
Last year we moved from the east coast to the west coast here in the States. And we moved to a much smaller home so there was so much stuff to get rid of. In the beginning, it was difficult and I thought I would never be able to part with some things. But I found that taking the first step is always the hardest and it became easier to release that stuff to new homes (sometimes the trash!) With each thing released from my possession, along came a weight released from its hold on me.
Thank you for following my blog and I look forward to each of your posts.
Hey Jeanne, that’s very much it, it’s the first step is the hardest and that rests in the decision to make the first step …
Lovely to hear from you do keep in touch 🙂
I am one of those people who are able to impart such emotional significance on even the tiniest of objects that I find it almost impossible to throw anything away. Perhaps even more telling is my inability to throw away some of the mental and emotional baggage that I’ve accumulated throughout the years. I know that each day I add a little more and the bag that I carry gets heavier, it’s just finding a way of putting it down and sorting through it all that has me stumped.
Perhaps with insightful blog posts such as yours I will find a way of doing so.
LOL, you are a lady after my own heart … I’ve found that it’s often easier to demonstrate things via analogy or example than trying to directly explain internal processes. The most important thing I think is to make a decision and start there. Same as clearing the garage, I didn’t want to do it, it was a big effort. But I made a decision and found a way. Same with the emotional process 🙂
I totally agree that the first step is coming to the decision in the first place. I’ve always liked to use analogies to convey my thoughts, especially in my writing as it helps not only me but others reading my work to have a better understanding of whatever the hell it is that I’ve decided to talk/write about! We all judge things by our own experiences and so it is important to try to provide a comparison so that others may understand what it is that we are trying to get across with our words; we need some kind of yardstick with which to measure things by.
Man, I like discussing these kinds of things with you, Don! 🙂
Hey Heather, totally feel the same way, you are very easy to get on with 🙂 warm regards DC
Don, you are such a charmer! 🙂
Do my best 🙂
Yes definitely a balance and one of life’s lessons in all kinds of ways as you have made clear in your sharing. These days minimal is best for me. thanks for the thoughts.
Same, or working towards !
It’s the time of year for clearing out the old. The sunshine and warmth inspire us to act on those feelings.
Did you know that some practitioners of feng shui equate the garage of your dwelling with your colon? One recommendation they have for those with restroom troubles is to clean out the garage. On the converse of that is people who store things in the attic, and have mental struggles. Basically, if a person has too much stuff anywhere in their home for them to handle, it can show up in the mind, body, or spirit. I was pleasantly surprised with the changes in our home when we did what our consultant suggested.
One thing she was glad we kept was items from our ancestors. They’re seen as adding good energy to your home. In moderation, of course.
I don’t know much about feng shui so you’ve added to my knowledge … de-cluttering in an organised and thoughtful way, is the way forward 🙂
I’m moving in July and dreading the process. Although, I feel better looking at the pic of the garage. 🙂
Plan as much as you can in advance, and then execute the plan … organisation skills, gold !
Thanks hun 🙂
I am in the situation that I am sure many can relate to. My home belonged to my parents and my father turned a once clean and tidy house into a collection of oddities, junk, and some worth while items. If it was me, I would have sorted this out sooner but when you have family involved; the process slows tremendously.
I am however, removing things that would not have been noticed anyway and pitching it out and trying to sort out the more useful items for a sale.
My goal…have a few nice things and not a lot of filler.
Good going Steve … sounds like a plan !
Imortant blog for everyone to start thinking on. After all, Spring Cleaning is just over the horizon for us. Thanks for the helpful intro. You’re right too. Some people just toss things cuz they don’t want to bother sifting and separating, only to regret it later. It’s something to think about! That’s for sure! I’m sure your input was helpful in getting others to to maybe plan this a little better. Congrats on good organizational skills :O)
Thanks dude, and thanks for underlining the bottom line, organisational skills !
It can be energizing and renewing to let go and clean out. The older I have gotten the less I collect- and the more willing I am to part with all the unnecessary clutter I have amassed. The things that hold sentimental value I keep- but I have learned to let go and it is freeing.
Sounds a freeing ethos, I admire that 🙂
Since 1994 we have moved house nine times. We have learned to let go of stuff like furniture because it costs to move the big gear. We also have had clear-outs over the moves which have lightened the load. But I still lug my crystals and books with me, as well as art gear, and my husband brings his model railway gear. Other than that, I think we’ve both learned to live in a much less cluttered house and you do feel the lighter for it. I think as well for me it might be a reaction to my father who was a hoarder par excellence, he was a good example for getting rid of clutter!
Must have been about the same number for me I guess … sometimes it’s worth keeping larger items if shipping short distances, but I’ve sold a lot of stuff on gumtree in the past … and I need to learn to travel lighter on the airplane, two laptops and an ipad for a 5 day trip is too much !
It is a timely article because we are in the process of consolidating two homes and buying a new one. The new one is much smaller than these other houses so we have to let go of a lot of stuff! It’s sad but necessary in this “stage” of our lives. lol
Yes, I can very much see that. Just try and make the best choices you can, and look toward the future and what you’ll want and need … but I’m sure you know this ! warm regards DC
I’m so hopeful about the future! This has been an issue for my hubby and me for a long time and it will finally be over!
Fingers crossed for you both hun 🙂
Such a timely article as I’ve just spent the past few weeks packing, and the past few days moving… and there’s still two more small loads yet to move. It’s overwhelming and exhausting. I didn’t have time to sort through, but that’s top of my list in this new abode! Thanks, Don, for your article. ~SueBee
You are welcome SueBee … I’ve done quite a few moves, so empathise entirely … get what you need done, then give yourself a break, you’ll have earned it !