Ah, stuff.

Sometimes my life can feel way too focused on the next thing I think I “need”, as precious hours are spent reorganizing the ones I already have in order to make room. When I get fed up and hop on my anti-materialistic horse, my mind is split between rationalizing what I have and plotting how to get rid of it.

And of course, if I get rid of it, it’s only temporary; more will come to fill the void. Still, the movement generated by gifting and purging feels much better than the stodgy, stuck feeling of drowning in stuff.

Deciding to purge is only the first step. The follow-through takes tenacity and perseverance, because there is no end of distractions in the de-cluttering process. There are the things that represent what I was going to do — no — what I still might do, one day, when I find the time to really tap into, for example, my inner bonzai master. Or the things that represent an old me, like the me that was oh-so-into mixed tapes of ‘80s music, or David Bowie’s Labyrinth. What am I saying? I’m still into Labyrinth.

And so I must rip off the Band-Aid that has joined my identity to an object, thus setting it free. Do I still need that part of myself that was obsessed with weird desserts made from tofu?

Living in 180 square feet engenders restraint in acquisition. Perhaps that’s why I’ve spent so much time pondering the question of stuff and it’s role in my life. I think all the things I own bring about responsibility; perhaps it’s responsibility for the labour or materials that went into an object, or for what will happen to it when I’m done with it, but either way it weighs me down.

This holds equally true for things I use everyday as for those stuffed in the attic. Or at my parents’ house. On the flip side, possessing empty space requires energy to keep things from flooding into it. Sorry, no free lunch. Or maybe there is.

I confess to being a free-store junkie, and it’s the perfect place to send stuff. I cheerfully partake in what my local shop has to offer. I treat the clothing shack like an extension of my closet, swapping things out regularly. This lack of attachment has even rubbed off on things that I’ve had for a long time.

Consider it a practice; they say 40 days is a key number to getting a new habit entrenched, whether it’s doing meditation or flossing your teeth. How about giving away one thing per day for 40 days? It’ll make space for other things, or maybe, just space.