I remember thinking, "Wow. How freeing that must feel."
To stop holding on to ''stuff". To strive no more for the accumulation of more "stuff". To embrace only the necessities and let go of the rest. Honestly, all that "junk" just gets in the way of living an abundant life, anyway.
I know as a teacher, it's so true. Less is more. So much more. When I taught second grade, I had a classroom filled to the brim with extra supplies, manipulatives, books, files, etc. When I moved into my Pre-K classroom, I was so overwhelmed with "junk" that I started throwing it all away. I wanted to start fresh in an empty, clean classroom. After the first year, I threw more away (or gave it to other teachers). The less stuff I had to keep track of, organize, and store, the freer I felt to teach.
I heard someone at the Global Leadership Summit say, "Throw away all your notes at the end of each year, because every new group of students deserves fresh thinking."
Less is more. So much more. And so much better.
The less you have, the more freedom you have to move and live. The less you have, the more you appreciate what's really important in life (people, not things).
Having more doesn't satisfy, anyway. As soon as we get what we want, we're immediately wanting to add more to it.
This Christmas we finally brought our kitchen up to date by replacing old, broken appliances with new matching ones (for which I am very thankful). (I'm the thrifty queen, so I find more satisfaction in a good deal than I do with appearance. It takes me a long time to give in to replacing something that's been long broken or out of date.) I smile when I walk in the kitchen now and see that everything matches and looks nice.
Then yesterday I walked into my friend's kitchen to help her salvage what she could after the tornado destroyed most of her home. At this point, no one cared if her appliances matched or not. No one cared if she had nice furniture still standing. No one cared if the clothes in her closet were fancy or a certain name brand. All that mattered was that they all made it safely into her tiny bathroom before the storm tore the roof completely off the house. All that matters now is salvaging the necessities and a few memories.
When I walked up to her, the first words out of her mouth after she hugged me were, "It's all just stuff."
I will never forget the opportunity I had to visit a family in Montevideo, Uruguay back in 1997. They lived in the tiniest apartment and possessed very few belongings. Yet they gave of the little they had to feed three extra guests and host us for the evening. I remember the light in their eyes and the warmth that I felt in that home, and I remember thinking, "Those are the richest people I have ever met."
Less is more. So much more. The less you have, the more you appreciate what really matters. I hope that truth will stick with me and influence my decisions and my attitude over the coming year.