My parents had a yard sale a few weeks ago. They are selling everything and moving to Italy to live their dream life. My mom offered to give me some of their stuff, but I reminded her that I was getting rid of stuff, not taking it home. Interestingly, I did take stuff home from the yard sale. I also took home two very important lessons.
1. Stuff is not important My parents were willing to sell just about everything they owned to live their dream of living in Italy. I even grew up with some of their stuff. They held on to it for decades, even paying to store it for a period of time. Now, when stuff is in the way of a dream, it is not important anymore.
2. Some stuff is important. My mom was selling a bunch of her cookbooks, which I know was really tough for her. She has been using some of the same cookbooks for more than thirty years. She likes how her cookbooks naturally open to the food stained pages of her favorite recipes.
One of the cookbooks she was selling was the “The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook”. I noticed that almost everyone that stopped by the yard sale picked it up and their eyes lit up. “This is the best cookbook” or “I had that cookbook!” and stories would follow. One cookbook evoked so many different memories that it was hard to overlook. I composed myself though and stuck to my I don’t need your stuff guns. It wasn’t until one customer remarked on the inscription on the inside front cover. My daughter walked over to look and said, “My great-grandmother’s name is in here.” When I saw that my grandfather had written my grandmother’s name and the date that he gave her the cookbook, along with the look in my daughter’s eye, I knew that book was coming home with us.
Getting rid of stuff seems to be the minimalistic way, but the key is to discover your dream life. If you can identify the life, the dream life that makes your stuff unimportant, you can start working on it. Don’t worry about the details today. Don’t worry if your dream doesn’t look like your friend’s or neighbor’s dream. Dream big, dream thoughtfully and write it down.