Is it possible to be secretly tied to your stuff?

I was reminded this weekend that we can be unexpectedly tied to our belongings.

My husband and I have begun to declutter our basement rec room.

We started with the books. Despite giving away many books 2.5 years ago when we moved in, and at least once since, we still had 100s of books that we haven’t been reading AND that neither of us felt any connection to.

We went through the first 5 bookshelves with no problem. We kept ~1 book for every 10 we put in the “give-away” pile. I felt no twinges.

And then we arrived at the Robert Jordan, “Wheel of Time” books.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, let me tell you about these books. Robert Jordan was an epic Fantasy writer who published the first of this series in the early 1990s. When I was doing my undergrad at university I was introduced to this author (and genre) by my boyfriend, Ryan. I fell in love with the books from the start. I read books 1 – 3 in short order. I loved them so much I bought them in hard cover. Then over the next 8 years or so I bought and devoured the next 8. I found others who also loved the books and spent lots of time talking about the complex stories! But then life kind of took over, and I never finished the series.

But I kept the books.

I have now moved the books between 6 and 10 times. I have thought about re-reading them many times. But generally, they have sat on one bookshelf after another, house after house.

{Related post: Clean Out Stuff To Clear Your Head}

Anyway, let’s get back to Saturday.

Imagine this: on the one side of the floor there is a massive pile of books to give away. On the other a very small, selective pile of books I love and have read at least once, plus a couple of books that remain on my current to-read list.

And then the first Robert Jordan book arrives in my hand. It is large and heavy.

I put it in the keep pile.

I lift the second book into my hand. My brain has gone blank.

I put it in the keep pile.

As I lift the third book into my hand my husband asks, “are you sure you want to keep those books?”

I answer strongly, “Yes. One day soon I am going to re-read the series and finish it!”

I’ll be forever grateful for his follow up question:

“Could you take that book out of the library when you’re ready to read it again?”

Can you surprised into change?

I turned to him with the sudden realization that for the last 20 years I’ve been emotionally connected to these books. That has meant I’ve kept them way too long and for all the wrong reasons. Reasons like:

* I spent a lot of good money on those books.

* I loved the books when I read them the first time so I’m sure to love them forever.

* They are like a tie to my university years, etc.

But when Mike held that figurative mirror up for me to see what was happening, the emotional tie was severed! I guess all the work I’ve been doing really is working! Not sure it would have been so quick earlier on in my minimalism journey!

I took that book and the other ones and immediately put them into the give-away pile. And all the others, as they came off the shelf. I felt no connection, no remorse, no guilt. Instead, I felt an unexpected lightness.

I wish that feeling of lightness for you too. For whatever item that is in your house that you are tied to.

Let it go and see what is possible on the other side!


PS. Later Saturday night I went on to the library website and put a hold on the e-book version of book #1. I guess in a couple of weeks I’ll figure out if I really want to spend any time re-reading the series after all! I’ll let you know!

PPS. Share in the comments below if you too got caught up in The Wheel of Time and more importantly if you too have discovered things you’re secretly tied to!





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