What is it like to try to get rid of EVERYTHING you own?

Well, it’s daunting. Utterly overwhelming. And very liberating.

I’ve just begun. I won’t be renting a storage unit, and I don’t want to burden any of my friends or family members with the task of watching over my stuff, so I have to look at every item in my house and ask “Do I want to carry this around the world on my back?”

Almost everything I own has a story. My grandmother made the afghan. The teacup was a gift from a beloved friend. I brought that pouf back from a trip to Morocco. That ceramic pot is the one my father cleverly designed to cook rice at high altitudes, and I brought it back after his funeral in Colorado. I refinished that dresser myself and I’m so proud of how it turned out.

Remember this scene from Labyrinth? The heroine’s tangle
of memory-laden junk almost distracts her from her mission to save her baby brother.

I’ve discovered that I love each and every one of my possessions with all my heart.  I lift up each item and spend a moment savoring its backstory. Sometimes I mist up. I turn the memory over in my heart and enjoy the feeling of it.

Then I chuck the item into a box!

I have boxes filled with items for Goodwill, Homeless Ministries, e-bay, Craigslist. I have baskets for various friends and family members. Paperwork, photos and videos will be scanned and backed up — then tossed.

These  beloved objects represent people and memories, but the people and memories exist independently of the things.  I have loved living with these items, but I am happy to be freeing myself of them. They are not my life; they are an unimportant distraction from life.


Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer. She has been traveling the world, living out of a backpack, since May of 2013. Lauren has written regularly for CBS Local, WebPsychology, Hipmunk, and Hotelplanner, and has also been published in The Culture-ist, Matador, and other online and print publications.

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