Real Life Minimalist + Dealing with Nostalgia

I'm into my 5th (and final!) week of Project Eliminate. Today, a very special person will share a small piece of her journey with stuff and how she "copes" when it's hard to let go.

First, look whose story is featured today on Miss Minimalist as a Real Life Minimalist --yours truly!

Francine Jay (Miss Minimalist) wrote the book The Joy of Less--a very practical how-to for minimizing and organizing every room of the house. I first fell in love with her blog, Miss Minimalist, where she wrote about her minimalist adventures like living out of a duffel bag while traveling, or the very minimalist apartment her and her husband lived in abroad. Most recently they have returned to the states, bought a house and had a baby, broadening her minimalist horizons and challenges. I am very honored for our story to be shared on her blog. Thank you, Francine!

Alright, keep reading for today's guest post on dealing with emotional attachment to "stuff".

Two years ago my family and siblings and I joined my parents at their home in Kansas to help my mom sort memories and keepsakes and loved belongings for her move to North Carolina. She has (had) a tendency to hold onto unnecessary things for the memory they represented. I tend to be a little harsh when it comes to getting someone to let go of something, but seeing her struggle and hearing where she was coming from helped me to learn a thing or two about helping others in their difficult battles against stuff. I was going to write some steps for helping others let go of their things or ideas for letting go yourself that I learned from her through that summer.

I'll save that for another time, and today will give this post over to my wonderful mother, Teresa, and her response when I asked what I should share about dealing with nostalgia while letting go of things. Here is her response:
Nostalgia is not in things but in great memories formed of relationships with people. You taught me the summer of 2010 that I could take pictures of things if I was afraid of keeping that memory alive. I have looked at those pictures a couple of times and that is all. When I look at the pictures I remember the time I created those things but it is truly the satisfaction that I now know that the things don't mean anything but knowing that I was creative, productive, and shared that with others.

Now God has led me to another time of life to use my talents in other ways. I still get satisfaction out of creating but not for the purpose of making money or fulfilling a desire to be recognized but for relaxing. We often fall into the rut of what society and advertising tells us and feel in order to show the world that we are successful we have to own stuff. Our success is really shown by our relationships and helping others. I will never be remembered by being the person with the most stuff or the one who had just the right thing for someone to borrow. I am the person who showed mercy on someone in need or gave of my time when someone was hurting. I no longer have to be the "hostess with the mostest".

After 50 years of a certain mindset, is it still hard? Absolutely! Do I still hang on to some things that don't make sense to someone looking on? You bet. It doesn't come overnight but it's a process. There is a new generation that sees things different because times are different. Because I'm older than you does that mean I can't change? No! It just means that I have to want to change and have to do a self evaluation often to counteract the years of struggles, feelings, and habits.

As you spend time contemplating the need for things you start viewing all the stuff around you as a burden because you have to move it, dust it, sort it, fix it, and be emotionally attached to IT (which can also be draining). Progress is the key! Each person has to be able to make these changes one step at a time.

Thank you for sharing, Mom!


also see:
new? start here...
project eliminate series
simplifying home series
monthly dose of simple