I recently was re-reading one of my “bibles” on clearing clutter, Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. For whatever reason, I can pick this book up at any time and re-read sections of it, and get re-inspired around cleaning up my stuff – even though I’ve read it all before. It’s weird how new things will pop out and appeal to me on each read, depending on where I’m at in my journey. The other night, this section really jumped out at me:
Keeping things “just in case” indicates a lack of trust in the future. You create your own reality by the thoughts you have, so if you worry that you will need something after you have thrown it away, then sure enough, very soon afterward, your subconscious mind will create a situation where you need that very thing, however obscure it may be. “I knew it would come in useful sometime!” you exclaim, but in actual fact you could have averted this need by thinking differently. You created that need yourself by believing that you would have it! If you have lots of clutter you are hanging on to because you think like this, you are sending out a message to the universe that you don’t trust it to provide for you, and you will always feel vulnerable and insecure about the future.
This really got me thinking, because as a result of our current financial situation, I have felt very “future insecure”, and it has led me to being afraid to get rid of certain things, because I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford to replace them. That is my fear talking. It’s hard not live in a scarcity mindset when the reality of your bank account feels, well, scarce. And it’s true I have found some good ways to repurpose certain items, or to use up stashes of things we already have to delay buying more. That has been a good exercise for me in many ways – the “punishment” of having to use up stuff I only kind of like before I can go out and buy something I love has worked wonders in making me more careful about what I buy the first time around. I am planning all my purchases more carefully now, doing a lot of thinking and research and thoughtfulness around everything, and that is definitely a change for the better.
But there are some things that I will pick up, consider getting rid of, and then uncertainly put them back down, not because I love them, but because I feel afraid to let them go. I’m going to try to really notice when feel this way from now on, and do my work around moving through that fear and trying to trust that my future will be okay – no matter what possessions I own. I think the items start to represent my emotions, and I give them more power than they really hold.
I took a first step toward this today when cleaning out a drawer that held, among other things, a stash of those extra button packets from clothing I’ve bought. For years I have popped those little packets off and tossed them in a drawer just in case I ever need them. Shopaholic that I am, I have amassed quite the stash. And it’s a fearful little stash, isn’t it? “Oh my God, what will I DO if I lose a button???? That would be the WORST! Thank God I’ve kept this extra plain black button – it would BANKRUPT me to to got a fabric store and have to buy a new one!” I know in some cases, the buttons are very specific or fabric covered, and with those I’ve always been glad I do have the extra. But right along with those, I have chosen to save boring black, white, and clear ones that would be simple to replace.
But the more important thing I realized as I began to go through my stash, was that I don’t even own most of the clothing that goes with the buttons I have anymore. I remembered the item when I saw the corresponding button, but couldn’t recall the last time I had seen the garment. It’s like I’m afraid of losing things I’ve already lost. Stupid.
So I kept any buttons that I specifically knew went with things that were still in my possession, which was about 15 buttons total. The rest I tossed. I realize that this in itself is a very small gesture, but finding a way to release some of my fear about the future feels huge.