My journey towards voluntary simplicity has been a path with many twists and turns. Like many, I have collected various different nick-knacks over the years. Some have sentimental value, others just fanciful chattels that I found unique or unusual; but none it seems, worth the mental anguish of holding on to for numerous decades. Now, well entrenched in a pattern of downsizing, I have taken a step back to reflect on these collections that I once fought to protect, display, and house.
It started a few years ago when the book Simplify Your Life, by Elaine St. James, caught my eye in a near-by bookstore. After reading that first in the series I continued reading various books on the same topic. Digesting the new perspective these books shared brought me to a realization that I had been unconsciously immersed in a scarcity mentality. I did not hold on to these items because, as the books recommended, I used the items frequently, they held sentimental value to me, or because they helped me obtain my closest life goals. Being truthful it appeared I held on to these treasures because I believed I had to. I was compelled. I made many jokes about being a hoarder because all teachers are “savers”. Everyone knows that teachers never toss anything away because that old scarf might make a great prop or the tattered curtains could become a great number of potpourri sachets that would make great Christmas gifts. With this in mind, I now take items to my classroom and store them there. If any remain in my storage closet at the conclusion of the school year I bring it directly to the nearest Salvation Army on my way home that last day of school and my summer begins light and easy.