Thursday, February 19, 2015

Disposal of Surplus Possessions

Loft junk

More loft junk

Homes with two cars

More homes with many cars

I recently received an email from a sailing friend who said he was about to start a new boat building project. His plan was to first get rid of a collection of bicycles, but to keep the most liked one - the most comfortable and efficient. This will free him to concentrate on his new project, and to make space for undertaking it. No doubt, he will sell his unwanted bicycles to help finance the new project.

On the same principle of making space, my wife and I periodically sort through bits and pieces that accumulate in our loft. We then get rid of things we think will be of no future use.  Likewise, now and again, we rummage through wardrobes and drawers to select clothing we no longer wear, and to donate it to a local charity shop.

It is surprising how much junk accumulates over a period of a year. There’s never enough room to put it. Even our garden shed is bung full of stuff! A temporary solution has been to stack surplus items behind the shed and to cover them with tarpaulins. Unfortunately, these particular possessions belong to one of our daughters, and we are holding them in trust until she can find room to store them.

Recently, a different daughter set aside time for sorting out her attic. She found possessions she and her husband had forgotten they owned. The exercise - and I mean exercise – took her many hours. Repeatedly climbing up and down a ladder, plus sorting through the contents of boxes to determine what was worth saving, required much effort, besides effort expended disposing of them.

The principle behind reducing ones possessions is that it brings rewards. There is a mistaken belief that the more we own, the richer we are. The truth is, that the less we own, the richer we are! This would appear to be a paradox, but let me explain: Possessions are a hindrance, because they require time, money and effort for maintaining and looking after them. They can be, and often are, a cause of anxiety and grief - especially if we set our heart on them and something untoward happens to them. We then look to the insurance company for compensation, but things that have been irreparably lost are gone for ever; they cannot be replaced, except perhaps by like for like items. Artefacts that have been repaired are never the same.

There comes a time in life when it is sensible to shed a number of possessions, even to downsize considerably. We see this with pensioners who are on fixed incomes. They no longer have the means for increasing their possessions, and they see the wisdom of simplifying their lives. This can be a rewarding experience, for it gives them time for doing things they could never have done before. They are no longer burdened with unnecessary possessions, and they are freed of stress and anxiety brought about through ownership. There’s a double bonus if their siblings have left the nest!

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