Alexis Powers: Clearing out household 'stuff' also clears mind, soul

2012-11-01T00:00:00Z Alexis Powers: Clearing out household 'stuff' also clears mind, soulOpinion by Alexis Powers Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Something wonderful happened a couple of weeks ago. A good friend told me her church was having a rummage sale and was willing to pick up stuff I no longer wanted. My heart beat wildly with joy!

I am a minimalist. For years friends have made jokes about me because I want my garage as uncluttered as possible.

"Why does it bother you if you have lots of stuff in your garage? That's what the garage is for," they claim.

I argue, "Not true. The garage is for cars, Christmas decorations, maybe some extra bottles of water and extra paper products."

When I was married I drove my husband crazy by nagging him to clean out the garage. Every once in a while, when he could no longer stand my strong prompting, he'd go out there and go through some boxes.

Maybe that's one of the reasons we no longer live together!

The rummage sale presented a superb opportunity. Not only was the church willing to pick up anything I wanted to donate, but needy people would benefit. With relentless enthusiasm, I took stock of my kitchen. I found lots of things I didn't need, then packed them up and took them to the garage.

That was the next place to find surplus treasures. I perused the brimming shelves. How could I have accumulated so much stuff I could do without in less than two years? I was dumbfounded!

Why was I keeping a set of dishes I hated? In the linen closet I found towels I wanted to dispose of. With care, I wrapped the dishes in the towels and placed them in a plastic bin.

Next came that collection of National Geographic magazines I thought I might someday send to my grandchildren. Pshaw! Let someone else enjoy them.

More reading material, including lots of cookbooks. I couldn't remember the last time I tried a new recipe. One of the books weighed a ton. With glee I deposited them in a box.

As I looked things over, memories flooded my consciousness - some good and some bad. The cookbooks reminded me of lovely dinner parties, the fun of preparing new recipes and the joy of having people dine at my table. Even though I still entertain, I am no longer adventurous with the menu. I stick to the old reliable recipes.

Keeping the best for last, I smiled as I walked back to the house to confront the clothes closets. With no one wearing them, many outfits have shrunk over the years. How did that happen?

I made up a rule: If I had not worn the item since I moved to Oro Valley two years ago, the item was going to the church. Let some smaller person wear these practically new garments. Removing old and unused items from the closet gave me space to buy some new fashions. What fun!

Sitting down with a cup of tea, I reflected on how much lighter I felt getting rid of these things. Did having an uncluttered home and garage result in an uncluttered mind?

Perhaps getting rid of "stuff" enables one to dispose of old resentments and focus on the good in life. That thought cheered me to no end.

On StarNet: Read recent columns by Alexis Powers at azstarnet.com/alexispowers

Email Alexis Powers at northwest@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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