In the quest to minimize our possessions and clear the clutter in our homes, one of the laments that I hear most often and have even said myself is, “But I paid good money for that!”
When we see the benefits of living with less and decide to start on that journey we begin to see traits about our lives that can cause some tension, discomfort, and even regret. We see items that six short months ago we “had to have” that now lay forgotten or rarely used. We find items that we truly treasure but are tucked into dusty corners or buried in a box long packed away. We see how quickly and easily we gave in to the ads and pleas from companies to buy, buy, buy. We begin to see that we soften our guilt as parents by purchasing countless forgotten toys.
The truth is we did pay “good money” for those things. We worked hard to earn it and now the thing we bought is going out the door and it feels like a waste.
When I did that massive first sweep of our home, pulling out anything and everything that hadn’t been used, was in the way, broken or worn out, I felt sick to my stomach sometimes at the things we had bought that I was now deeming unnecessary and excessive.
But I also felt exhilarated. I didn’t want to stop clearing out the clutter and the excess because with every piece that I let go of, more time and freedom was found. I could see the future would hold less time cleaning and organizing and more time with my kids, more time to spend outdoors, more money to pay off debt and give as donations to work I support. There were also lessons being learned about our spending habits.
If you’re struggling with the same thoughts and are seeing nothing but dollar signs going out the door, here are two thoughts for you:
1. Why are you doing this? Remember the tension that has brought you to the point of minimizing and think about the freedom you’ll have by letting all this stuff go. There are so many benefits to living with less. Also consider that that “good money” wasn’t totally wasted, you are learning invaluable life lessons and wisdom that you will pass on to others.
2. What can you learn from this? As you’re clearing out, instead of lamenting about the loss of money, instead think about what led to these purchases. Was it impulse buys, retail therapy, comparison, or just believing all the promises of a better life if you just buy this item.
As we simplify our lives there are going to be obstacles. Take note of them as they come and see what can be learned. Decluttering is about much more than a clean countertop.