It’s taken a couple weeks but I’ve gotten through more than 50% of my storage space. While the first cuts were fairly easy, they got progressively harder. To move the process along, I asked myself one question:

If the basement went up in flames, what would I be upset to lose?

I couldn’t thing of anything except for one drawing from art school. I realized I keep a lot of things because I feel like I should, not because I want to. I should chuck it all right now! But release is a process and I’m tackling one Christmas colored storage bin at a time. Here’s what else I’ve learned:

1. Fast-forward through Craigslist: I had a light table I loved but haven’t used for more than ten years. I ran through the possible back and forth scenario with potential Craigslist buyers and realized, I’d rather not waste my breath haggling. This table will keep its dignity if I donate it. I carried it to the Brown Elephant and it was welcomed with open arms.

2. Use it or lose it:crystal It’s a stepped process- 1. Take object from plastic tub and bring upstairs. 2. Find a place or a use for it. 3. If it doesn’t have one, donate it.

3. Stare it cold:
stare it cold I have packed and repacked a glass jars and bottles, some with rocks and shells. One has a great story. The others are just decorative. They are now on display, staring, demanding a decision. It’s judgment day. Some will get repacked. Some will be asked to leave.

4. It’s just a thing
cosmetic trayWhen my parents died, I held on to every tiny thing as if it were a piece of them. But life happens and things go missing. Or worse, they break- like my mom’s glass cosmetic tray. It’s still intact, it’s just missing a glass bar from the front. I was sad when this happened in a move six years ago but I reminded myself, it’s not her. It’s just a thing. Letting go of the stuff is ok.

5. Space is freedom
I now have three huge empty plastic bins (need any?) and a spacious storage room. I have new momentum and an unexpected joy in the open space. It’s not over yet but I already feel lighter, less burdened and a little more in control.