What does freedom mean to you?
I was asked this question years ago and after answering it, my life went on to be the same. There was no light bulb moment for me. Years later I found myself watching Adam Baker and he asked the same question in a powerful TedX talk. You can see the video at the bottom of this post. This time, my answer to that question changed my life forever.
It gave me, as Oprah would say, an AH HA moment. While I wasn’t about to be as extreme as he and his wife were, I did realize that I needed to let go of so many THINGS.
What THINGS in your life can you let go of? I want you to ask yourself that question as I share with you 3 reasons why selling your crap can transform your life.
1. Things need attention.
The bigger the house, the more you have to clean. The more nic nacs and paintings you have, the more you have dust. The more things you have, the more time you must invest in those things or taking care of those things.
2. Simplicity brings joy.
Every time I purge items we no longer need in our house, I feel happiness and the sense freedom. Watch Adam's talk below. If you're in a hurry, skip to minute 8:43 because he says it so perfectly.
3. Experiences over things.
You can’t take all your assets with you to the grave. Let’s be real – eventually we all end up in the same place. Things like your house, cars, and toys are not permanent but the memories you make,well, they last forever. Cherished moments and experiences with your loved ones stay with you forever.
My 11-year-old son was away at an athletic retreat when I got the worst phone call of my life.
It was my son's coach. Their perfect team bonding day turned into my worst nightmare. My son was hit by a truck. I have never felt so many emotions all at once.
The 20 minute drive to get to him felt like an eternity and he was still on the pavement when we arrived. My husband and I ran to him, and the moment I saw a pool of blood under his leg, I fell to the ground in tears.
We had an amazing support system and luckily he only suffered 2 broken bones and had surgery that day. It was a very long recovery process and we are extremely grateful that he is alive.
There is no worse feeling as a parent than to see your child in pain and have no power to fix it. When we were in the emergency room and the doctors were working on him, I couldn’t look at his injuries. I sat in a chair at the head of the bed, grabbed his hand, and looked at the floor. I kept telling him how he was going to be ok, how great he was doing, and how proud I was of him.
What does this story have to do with how selling your crap can transform your life?
When they were getting ready to clean his wounds, the nurse told me to start talking to him about anything happy. Our family motto is “experiences over things,” and I instantly started recalling all the favorite trips we had been. I talked to him about how blue the ocean was in the Bahamas when we snorkeled and saw the pirate ship, and how quickly he learned to ski on the trip we had just taken that winter. Those memories gave him brief relief from the trauma he was in.
I was reminded how life can change in an instant no matter how old you are, where you come from or how amazing you are. I was very grateful that we had already created so many amazing memories with our son in just 11 years and that we chose to make memories instead of acquiring more stuff or a bigger house.
As Adlai E. Stevenson said, “It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.”
What most of us don’t realize is that having all of this crap is actually robbing us of some joy. Once you start decluttering and getting rid of the excess crap in your life, you will be amazed at how much it can transform your life and let the light shine in.