While on maternity leave, I became one of those people who enthusiastically participated in reading Facebook memes and joining Facebook challenges. It was a way to occupy myself while nursing at all hours of the day and night, and, quite frankly, I don’t have the attention span right now to actually read something substantial.

One challenge posted by a dear friend was to go through your “stuff” and give away/throw away the number of things that matched the date for the entire month of December.

“I can totally do that!” I thought, ” We have way too much stuff!”

December first came, and I started my mission. I have, each day, given or thrown away the number of things that matched the date. Today, I identified 13 things that needed to leave my house.

I won’t bore you with pictures of my discarded stuff. But I will tell you this: This challenge has brought to my attention two stark truths for me. I keep things out of hope, and out of laziness.

The hope piece is generally that a) I will fit into/need this article of clothing again or b) I will make time to re-paint this picture frame/mail this postcard, etc.

The laziness piece is “Oh I will go through this/sort this/recycle this tomorrow.”

In both situations, the same truth appears: for most of the stuff I keep, that hypothetical “again” or “tomorrow” has never arrived.

I have unexpectedly forced to see the truth in so many of my actions and motivations, as evidenced by the “stuff” I’ve been able to tell myself, “Honestly, you don’t need this.” Much of my stuff leads back to goals either unrealistic to begin with or found unnecessary and abandoned.

“Stuff,” is complicated for so many people. For so many of us it is the physical manifestation of what is inside our heads; hence, why it is so hard to sort through and release. I also acknowledge that “stuff,” and the accumulation of it, is a privilege, and evidence of privilege-as is being able to let some of it go.

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