You may think storing your unused items outside your home or even in your home is the perfect solution to add more room to your living space. I used to think that too until I woke up. I am now so glad I only have one small storage locker on the ground floor of my senior apartment building. I plan on further paring down the stuff — I need to sell a few items. It is on my to-do list!
It is people like me that do not, I repeat, do NOT need big basements or garages to store things. My Dad once told me something that still sticks in my brain today. He said, “Your stuff will take up space you allow it to!” It is so true. If you purchase more shelving, they will soon fill! I am so much freer and happier living without a garage and basement full of stuff!
I used to think if I organized my clutter it was no longer clutter. Well, the truth is, you can’t organize clutter and say that you are organized. You are not organized if you have things in your home you are not using. It is as simple as that.
At one point in time, I read a home organization book that had a chapter on storage. It gave me lots of neat ideas on how to label and organize boxes of storage items. I thought I was doing so well when I labeled all my uniformly sized stackable boxes in my basement. I could easily find everything. I was so proud of my accomplishment. Then after two years rolled by, I realized if I had not used the items in most of my boxes I never would and got rid of most of my boxed clutter!
I have learned three big things when it comes to storing things:
Our stored stuff often remains stored instead of used. Our home should be a living space not a storage space.
When we pay for outside storage lockers, we are under the illusion that we are doing ourselves a favor by holding on to excess stuff. We think it may come in handy later. Then later never comes. The truth of the matter is, the only person we are doing the favor to is the owner of the storage unit when he collects your hefty monthly fee. A lot of our clutter is postponed decisions. Many of the items need a new home and that does not mean in a paid locker outside your home! Most of the time when you add up the yearly cost of having a storage unit, you could easily replace the items with even nicer stuff for what you are paying the owner of that square of space you are renting. I woke up a long time ago and realized that if I have to store my stuff somewhere besides in my own home, I have too much stuff!
If your seasonal decorations are taking up most of your storage area, then you may be time to start paring down, especially if you are in your third act of life. I had 12 big bins of Christmas decorations and a nine-foot tree. When we moved from our big home almost a decade ago, I pared it down to one 12 inch ceramic tree plus a string of lights for my patio railing. Christmas is much more joyful and stress-free now.
Jesus talked a lot about our possessions. In hindsight, I see how very right he is! He makes it pretty clear I think.
“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. Matthew 6:20-21
Sometimes our stuff can start owning us. Our stuff can cost us money, time as well as mental and emotional stress. It could even start costing us our good health! Maybe it’s time to consider finding your excess stuff a new home! Then you will be making your 3rd Act your Best Act!