I used to love to collect things. Lots and lots of things. I've never been a hoarder, but I had things I collected, and I would collect anything that pertain to it. Like coins. I have a huge coin collection. And Beanie Babies. And collector's editions of magazines.
In the last ten years, I've moved a lot. Most things have stayed in my parents' basement, because there was room for it there. I've done without a lot of things while I moved to and from England several times. And it's amazing what you don't miss. I didn't miss any of that stuff I'd collected. I collected a few other things, but each time I moved back to Canada I got rid of a lot of stuff. My goal was if it didn't fit in two book boxes and two suitcases, it wasn't coming back with me. And I was pretty good about that (I was better the second time around).
But since I've been back I've been purging. And I realise this comes from the time I lived in England and the travelling I've done. You learn to live without a lot of things. But in England, I learned to give stuff away. Charity donations of stuff is big over there, and nearly every month I made a trip to one of the shops to hand over a bag, and most people I knew did the same. It became a thing: the seasonal purge of stuff for the donation box. And as time went by, I got more selective about what I bought or acquired. I started to judge things by whether I actually needed them or not.
That has continued. I have no money now, so not buying stuff is rather a necessity. But even if I did have money, I've become more deserving about asking 'want or need?' And if it's want, it almost always goes back on the shelf.
It feels great to get rid of things. I've got boxes of stuff in the basement I haven't looked at in 10 years. That's a long time to go without something, so out it goes. It feels good to donate. It feels even better to purge. A lot of people collect stuff, or keep stuff they don't need, because they have space or because they think 'I'll need it one day'. But we hold on to a lot of things and things take the place of people. Or happiness. Or whatever you feel you're missing in life.
Getting rid of almost everything has taught me that there are things missing in my life. Important things. And stuff will not replace those empty spaces. I need to fill them with love, with a partner, with a career I adore, with close friends I love. Stuff won't fill them up, and it's only been a bandaid over the years.
But getting rid of stuff? It just feels good. I've always loved spring cleaning, and doing it every week of the year is liberating! Freeing! It feels amazing to rid myself of baggage and start fresh.
There's a world out there and I want to see it and live in it. And now I can, with just a couple of suitcases. The nice thing about that? I can take them with me on the plane. No more shipping internationally. No more boxes and boxes of crap I don't need living 3000 miles from me. Just my clothes, my dearest possessions, and people. And those you can take anywhere.