Saturday, May 3, 2008

Security - Is It In The Stuff?

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in The Frugal Life News

"Security is a superstition. It does not exist in Nature. It is no safer in the long-run than outright exposure." Helen Keller

How much time do you spend worrying about things that you can't control? Do you believe God when He says He will provide for you? Or have you taken that job on yourself and made a mess of it by gathering a house and attic full of "STUFF" to make you feel more secure, only to find that all it did was to create debt that makes you worry even more about security? Worry causes health problems.

Things or "stuff" will provide no peace or security. What you own, owns you. You are required to store it, keep it organized, clean it and make provision for its possible loss. What owns whom? I have come to the conclusion that stuff owns us! Therefore, I've been on a serious downscaling project for years.

I've actually reached the stuff that had so many emotions attached because it was my parents who have both passed on. I realized that my memories didn't have to include the stuff to make them more real to me. The memories actually meant more by not having to spend time on the stuff. I've been giving away and selling off everything of mine that is not in regular use in our home. With each "disappearing" item or box, I feel a bit more of the weight of the world fall off.

It's amazing what a move will do for you. We moved from Alabama to Virginia last year and while packing we took time for serious consideration of whether we wanted to move much of what we owned. We cleared out a truck full of stuff, but would you believe by the time we began unpacking what we moved, we had another car load more?

It's amazing what we hold onto. Most of these things weren't purchased in the past ten years, but were gathered from the time each of us began our single life in apartments. We just kept it "just in case." We gave away hundreds of books. I was a bookworm as a kid and imagined one day to have a room as a library. Now I can't even imagine why. Once we finished reading the books, other than for a very few, they were placed on the large bookcases we had built in, never to be touched again other than to lend some now and then.

We made the decision that we didn't want to make space and spend money providing a home for all these books. That's why they have libraries and inter-library loans. What freedom to discover that we didn't have to have a library of our own. The more space you need to store your stuff requires more heating/cooling, insurance, time to dust, etc. Eliminating all the stuff that you don't use in your home, makes the rest much more accessible.

Give it a try! It seems hard to let go at first, but it's so refreshing. You'll also find that the empty space you made will bring more peace into your life and home. If you plan to donate the stuff, write down each item and affix a value to it (what you could sell it for), so you can use it for a tax deduction. If you're going to have a yard/garage sale, keep the money separate to do something special with your family or spouse. Knowing what you're going to do with the money makes it easier to sell it off. We're looking for land to build, so we have that dream and focus as we choose whether to keep something or not. We're also wanting to downsize on our home and what we have to maintain, so the more we get rid of, the less home we will need.

Often people discover that the dreams they feel they can't afford are well within their reach by trimming a few extras that don't really add up to their desires in life.

There's still time for Spring Fever! Clean house! Clear your mind!

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