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Stuff: A Space Odyssey

Many people, city dwellers especially, know that space is a luxury. I’d bet most of us have, at one time or another, uttered the words, “I need space.” We might have been talking about our apartments, our office cubicles or even our relationships. Even people in large homes rent storage units. But wanting more space can also be metaphysical. We practice yoga to make room in our bodies and we do breathing techniques to create space in our minds. Yet with all this space accumulation, it never seems to be enough.

When I lived in 90-square-feet it felt like I had all the space in the world because I was free. Free from the shackles of a 9 to 5, a high rent, and mounds of unused stuff.

We ourselves don’t need that much space, it’s our stuff that makes us think we do. I’m talking about the stuff we either outgrow or when our stuff’s usefulness is outgrown and we don’t get rid of it. Do you toss old sneakers or leave them in the back of a closet? I have a friend with three broken toasters in her living room. She doesn’t bring them out to the trash because, she says, “I’m too lazy.” Is it really laziness or a fear of letting go?

The bottom line is, it’s not about space or stuff – it’s about happiness. Does a large home with lots of stuff around you make you happy? Then great. But that’s not what people write or say when asking me for help. They feel overwhelmed by their stuff, not knowing how or where to begin to get rid of it. I tell them stuff should leave the same way it came in – piece by piece. Try one item a day or one full box. I also suggest they picture how they’d like their home to look and to hold onto that image as they chip away in small sections. Once you begin to create space, you will be motivated to keep going.

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