Growing up I was always second-hand-rose – most of my stuff was hand-me-down and getting new clothes was a rarity.
I didn’t have the stuff my friends did, and it made me feel less than.
I got a job and started earning my own money when I was 15, because I wanted to have the financial independence to buy stuff for myself and stop feeling like the poor relation.
The minute I started earning money, I became a compulsive consumer.
I’ve been that way ever since.
About two years ago, I realised my compulsive spending had started to get out of control – the Amazon delivery guy was turning up every day, and a lot of the time I didn’t even remember what I’d ordered.
My bank balance was suffering, and I was starting to feel suffocated under the weight of all this stuff.
I realised I had to change.
The realisation was the first step – it brought a new level of awareness to how all the stuff was making me feel and it compelled me to take action.
I started with my clothes – putting everything into a big pile and clearing out anything I hadn’t worn in over 6 months, stuff I didn’t love, stuff that didn’t fit, and stuff that didn’t make me feel good about myself.
It didn’t happen all in one go – I didn’t put unrealistic expectations onto myself – but I undertook to stick to my mission and I decluttered regularly.
I’m still on the journey but now my clothes have room to breathe, I wear at least 80% of what I have regularly, and I actually have empty shelves!
For me, those empty shelves are symbolic of free space to think, feel and live. It sounds dramatic – but for me, it’s totally true.
I also focussed on toiletries and make-up, and decided not to buy anything new until I’d used up what I had.
I set myself the mission to stick to using one product until it was completely empty, and only then move onto a new one.
Over the last year all I’ve really bought is mascara, shower gel and shampoo and conditioner….THAT’S how much stuff I had!!
This is ongoing for me, and has filtered through to my entire house. The next big job is to tackle my photos…that’s going to be a tough one.
My shift has been so complete, that I now have an actual aversion to shopping because I don’t like the feeling of having to put something else in my wardrobe or drawers.
I have enough.
I have an abundance.
I realise all this stuff was a comfort blanket but also a wall, blocking out the good and keeping me trapped in a feeling of lacking.
Despite the fact I had so much stuff – I was trapped in a scarcity mindset that had me believe it was never enough.
This mindset became a self-fulfilling prophesy – I was never enough, I never had enough, so I bought more, but it was never enough.
Realising all of this has taken me years – for me shifts that are so deeply engrained happen gradually. But the catalyst for this shift was actually the death of my beloved mum.
My mum was a stuffoholic too.
When she got sick with cancer and it was clear she wasn’t going to pull through, she was initially worried about all her ‘stuff’, asking me and my sister if we’d make sure it was taken care of and we kept it all.
As she got sicker and closer to death, I asked her about the stuff and she told me none of it mattered.
She spent her last days going through the memories in her mind, remembering the people and experiences, looking back on her life, and making her peace with herself.
It wasn’t about ‘stuff’ at all.
When she died, my sister and I were left to deal with her lifetime of stuff.
That experience made me realise that it’s how I live my life – the people I love and the experiences I live – that really matter.
It also made me realise that, when we die, all our shit becomes someone else’s problem to deal with, someone else’s emotional burden to take on.
Living through that experience with my Mum is one of the big reasons I’m tackling my stuff – I’ve learned it doesn’t really matter and I don’t need it – my memories are in my heart not in a box in the loft.
Lots of love to you all xxx