Friday, February 09, 2007

When abundance brings work and guilt

I have accumulated dozens of free magazines from my library. I've spent literally hours going through them to cut out pictures and file and I still have too many because I keep bringing more home. When I look at them stacked in a corner or in a box, I get a twinge of guilt and that feeling that I must go through them soon.

I realized recently, when I bring home something, I need to think ahead. Nothing is free or a great bargain if it sits around and causes me great guilt because I haven't taken the time to read it. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy going through decorating and food magazines to cut out new recipes and pictures but too much is not a good thing.

Instead of enjoying myself on a cold, winter night...I feel a burden. Not a burden brought on by others but by myself in my exuberance over free stuff. When does "just enough" become too much? Hmmm...for me it is when the stuff starts getting too much to handle. When, instead of bringing value to my life, it is tearing me down by the demands of another thing "to do". It's much different than clipping out recipes or an article from just a few magazines I've enjoyed.

Yes, even books can do this to me. A few years ago, I took boxes of books to the library in Michigan because I realized we just didn't need them, anymore. They were taking up space on shelves that I needed for the new homeschooling season in which we were entering (Jr. High, High School, College Prep, etc.). It was time to let another homeschooling family be delighted in finding them at a sale. I set aside those that were rare books and those I knew my daughter could use. I had my son keep those he wanted to keep for his bookshelves. Then the remainder went to the library sale. It freed me and I knew by giving the books that I no longer needed, it would bless others.

How do you know it is time to let go? When what you have becomes a burden. When you are having to move things around to make room for what is more important. When you get irritated because you have to dust it again. When you know you will never use something again, you don't love it, it doesn't bring you joy just to look at it, it has no value for you anymore. Perhaps it is time to let (it, them, they, all of them) find a new home where they will be appreciated and the burden is no longer on you. Someone may be longing for that very item.

I've had to do the same thing with teacups. Now I see a teacup or teapot at a thrift store, I do not automatically purchase it as I did when I first began my collection. I will pick it up and look at it to see if it adds something new and fresh to my collection, as in...does it make my heart sing? Will I enjoy looking at it and/or serving tea from it or will it be just another object to dust? Am I buying it because it is cheap or taking it home because it is free? I've been putting a lot of pretties back on the shelf and keeping them there to bless someone else these past couple of years. When I do bring home a treasure, it truly is a treasure to me.

So today I am loading up magazines and taking them to the free racks at the library. I will keep those magazines that I KNOW contain information I want to keep. They may have cost me nothing in money but their demands on my time are too much.

I have too many treasures, books and important magazines, which are waiting for my attention. Those that do not burden me because I must read them but instead call to me because I want to read them. Life is too short to be burdened by too much "stuff" that is not important.


G.L.H. said...

This is a beautiful post. I know what you mean by "a burden." Every single thing I buy at a yard sale, thrift store, or hand-me-downs is Someone Else's Achievement in Decluttering! Where is *my* achievement?

And, as usual, you voiced it so eloquently. Thanks again.

Kathy said...

Thank you for your visit and comment - it is lovely to 'meet' you. What you wrote in this post is exactly what I have been contemplating ... what to do when a collection of magazines and books becomes out of hand? I appreciate your thoughts and will continue to pass my abundance on to others. Peace of mind, heart and home is worth far more than the potential pleasure of re-reading them. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, such a timely post! I just spent a couple of hours on a Sunday going through the magazines I have collected. There are still many more to go. I kept thinking that it so wasn't worth it! Your post has inspired me to just let them go. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Gretchen H.