Even though I’m not actively playing the #minsgame, I’m still working on reducing the amount of stuff I own. Last month, I took a big dent out of my library. A box is always waiting to collect miscellaneous things I realize no longer need.
It’s no surprise to anyone who’s done any sort of minimization process that we humans put strong and often irrational attachment to inanimate objects. One of the closets that I hadn’t tackled was my coat closet. Located in an inconvenient corner of my home, it’s much more of a long-term storage closet than a place that gets everyday use. My winter coats are stored there in the summer (and summer jackets stored there in the winter). It’s also home to my luggage. I refused to touch this closet during my month of the #minsgame and it worried me like an achy tooth in the months since. I had baggage and I didn’t know why.
I travel a great deal, so it’s not surprising that I have a several high-quality roller bags. But I also have a lot of duffel and hanging bags of various sizes and makes. I have countless promotional bags. Many of these I’ve had for decades. The black duffel went with me on my exchange year and all through college. The blue gym bag went with me every day for the years that I was an active gym-goer.
Of course these bags are completely useless for the veteran traveler. Carrying weighted bags on your shoulder is for rookies. I haven’t used any of them in ages, and very likely won’t use them again…except in one particular circumstance.
Back before I owned a home, I moved fairly often. Every couple of years, my luggage collection would be put to full use as I hauled my possessions from one apartment to another.
I liked moving. I liked cleaning things out. I loved the possibility of a new place. I liked seeing what I owned – and seeing my life – in a new light. But I haven’t moved in over 13 years. Buying a house is a different game than renting.
It’s no secret that I never really planned to stay in this house this long. It is a “starter” home that I never left. But it has always been my intention to do so. And so I’ve hung on to those bags, in readiness for a day that has never come.
That acknowledgement made it possible for me to wake up Saturday with the determination to clear out the bags; fourteen of them, off to Goodwill to be part of someone else’s journey.
I don’t need to hang on to those bags in order to be free. They are not the only way to see my life in a new light. Ironically, this whole minimalism process has been a preparation for a new phase in life. Owning less stuff, owing fewer dollars, opting out of unhelpful habits are all part of bringing more freedom and ease to my life, and, potentially, to make my intention of living somewhere else a reality. Getting rid of my baggage was a hugely symbolic – and real – step in the right direction.