When I was younger, I made a LOT of stupid money decisions that mostly involved accumulating lots and lots of stuff. But once I read Your Money or Your Life, I changed my way of thinking and stopped spending so much of my hard earned money on stuff. Fast forward to today and I hardly ever buy things just to have them. Instead, I only buy things that I really want or really need. And I’d honestly thought that the hold that stuff has over me was broken long ago.
I was wrong.
In two months, my rental lease is up and the Money Misfit household is moving out of our current rental. This past week, we started going through things in the apartment so that we can start packing and determine what we no longer need or want to move with us. That is how I discovered that some stuff still has a hold on me. And I don’t like that because in the end, it’s really JUST STUFF!
Let me give you some examples of what I’m talking about…
I enjoy the Cartoon Network show Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and I have a plush Bloo that sits on my desk and has for years. I got this item for free back when I used to work at Warner Bros. It is just a plush toy – that’s it! I considered putting it on eBay as some of these things are selling and mine is a unique one since it came from the network, and remember – it didn’t cost me a cent. But, just the thought of putting it up for sale made me feel pouty.
Why? Because I was “thinking this is mine!” It took me two days to realize that I was being ridiculous. Then, I put it up on eBay before I changed my mind. This weekend, it sold for almost $13 and I was a little sad for a minute, but I snapped out of it because now I have one less thing and I am $13 richer (minus eBay and PayPal fees, of course).
Another item I’ve had on my desk for YEARS is a ceramic Tigger figurine that was apparently a limited item and coveted by collectors. I know I couldn’t have paid more than $15 for it and it is selling on eBay for $60! Has this been a part of my life for over 10 years? Yes. But in the end, it is just stuff.
How I Am Overcoming The Hold That Stuff Has On Me
I admit that it has been hard to part with some of the things that have been a part of my life for so long. However, these are just things that I bought for myself. They were not given to me by anyone, so there isn’t really any type of sentimental value attached to them. Once I started looking at the stuff in my home with a practical approach, it was easy to recognize the hold that the stuff has on me and then kick it to the curb.
To shake free of the hold that stuff has over me, I asked myself the following questions each time I evaluated keeping or getting rid of an item:
- Does this have sentimental value? If yes, it is because someone gave it to me or another worthwhile reason to keep it? Or, have I just had it so long that I think it has more value than it really does?
- Does this item have a purpose? If yes, does is it’s purpose actually useful to me now? Or am I holding onto it just in case I need something that meets this purpose in the future?
- Does this item enrich my life? Or does it just sit on a shelf/desk/etc. and look cool/cute?
- Can I re-buy this item or something very similar if I later discover that I do really need it?
- Is there any other item that offers the same benefits as this item? If so, is this other item easily available to me at any time?
Using this series of questions has seriously helped me to shake off the hold of stuff and things that I don’t really need. I do still get a twinge of sadness or possessiveness when I put something in the “to put on eBay” or the “give to Goodwill” piles that I have in my living room. Overall though, I am getting really exciting and minimizing my possessions. Especially since it will mean less time packing up stuff and a smaller moving truck since I’ll have less things!