3 Steps to Redefining Your Relationship with Stuff

I’ve been thinking about the weight off my shoulders since I have started living with less stuff. I have a long way to go, but the progress so far has been life changing. I am starting to have:

  • More time to do the things I love
  • Less cleaning
  • Less mindless shopping and buying material items

These are some obvious things, but it digs deeper than that.

I am OK being quit and still. I used to feel like busyness and things made me important. Now, I know they are just objects and wasn’t making me happy. Now, if I want to sit and daydream while watching the sunset, I don’t feel guilty. I no longer have to prove myself by my stuff and what brought on this change was that I redefined my relationship with stuff.

My stuff used to tell my story. The books on my bookshelf made me feel smart. The cute craft pile of picture frames and fabric meant I was “doing things homey” and “Martha Stewart-y” because I am a mom and wife because that’s what moms and wives do. My pots & pans and Tupperware meant I was cooking delicious meals and that’s what I am supposed to do because I am female. My makeup and clothes meant I was put together and can afford the finer things in life. Fancy shampoos? Um, yes. I work for a living HELLO! I deserve it!

My things were telling my story. But after so many years, I didn’t know my story at all. These were things, not me. I am not a bag of cosmetics! That was my Aha moment. These objects and my stuff was robbing me of my story and my happiness. There was more to buy, more hours to work to buy more stuff, more — more — MORE!

I told myself if I had MORE, I would be MORE. Everytime I got more, or worked more, I became less.

Exhaused. Misreable. Lost.

I am trying not to be those anymore. It is time to let go so that I can find true happiness.

My mental state is changing the more action I put into redefining what this stuff means to me.


1. Live without it

This can be scary, but you don’t have to give or sell everything right away. Try boxing up your items for a few months and see if you truly need it, or if you even remember what’s in the box when the experiment is done. Others have done some cool things. You can try Project333 or a Packing Party to see what it’s like before fully committing. When you add space between you are your stuff, you can breathe. It feels so dang good to have room for the things you love.

2. Enjoy but don’t bring home

I used to want to buy a prize back from vacations. A jar of sand from the beach. Moose magnets from Maine. Airbrushed T-Shirts colorfully blasted with the date and place. What I was holding onto was the memories with stuff. When really, I just wanted to remember the experience. Thankfully, memories are always with us without the stuff. Now, I take a few pictures and talk about my trip with friends and family. I have stopped buying tokens of my memories. I may see something at a thrift shop that reminds me of my childhood. I get a warm fuzzy feeling and I leave it at that. I know the memory is there without buying and bringing the stuff with me.

3. Know the best things in life are not things

Make a list of the top 10 best things that have happened to you this year. How many of those things can you store under the bed or in a drawer?

Once you redefine your relationship with stuff and realize you are after the memories and not the things, it will open up a new mindset of clarity. You can carry your memories with you! No tokens necessary. There will be less guilt and buyers remorse and responsibility of taking care of things that own you. Let your memories and mind define you.


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