Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Losing My Inner Packrat

It is amazing how the more you let go of material possessions the easier it gets.

Six months after moving to Texas after I'd just downsized our possessions before the move, I gave away a bunch of stuff to a few charities. This fall after getting our stuff out of storage, as I unpacked I chose to get rid of more and more stuff that I paid by the pound to move here.

As our homeschooling journey continues to evolve I have been able to let go of previously coveted educational materials. I've said before that I overbought in the past, often at dirt cheap prices, when I was feeling anxious about our tight budget possibly not allowing us to continue to homeschool. In the end I wound up with a ton of excellent materials that no one family could ever use in their Pre-K to high school graduation home school. There is no reason to read a dozen different books about George Washington. Even the sentimental books are losing their appeal, I don't feel a need to keep them on hand. The fact that storage space is low and I want to live in an uncluttered environment is also a factor.

In the last couple of weeks I have dedicated most of the time that my kids are at sports practice to unpacking homeschooling books that cluttered up the extra bedroom that is supposed to be my art and craft studio. During this process I culled about six boxes of books to donate to the sport team fundraiser tag sale. As a book hoader that is a major accomplishment. I have even more boxes culled in the last couple of months that I've slated to try to resell to homeschoolers, curriculum and things that would not be of interest to tag sale shoppers.

This afternoon I spent time arranging books on the shelves in the game room. These shelves hold the homeschool books. As I tidied up and organized the topics I kept finding more and more to let go of, even though just a couple of months ago I placed them on those shelves with the intention of using them. I now know I won't ever use them, we just have too many materials and too little time.

We have done a ton of homeschool learning this fall. I have been so involved in the process of teaching and learning alongside my kids that I realize that to use everything you have takes a lot of time and energy. You can extract a lot of learning out of one resource. There is no need to overbuy resources if you have found a good fit, just use it and stop buying more stuff. I have focused on the learning process instead of focusing on the shopping process. I am thinking of the memories of what we have learned rather than thinking I need to keep the material book on hand long after we are finished with it.

The experience is what is important.

The doing of something is the experience, not the thinking about what may be done in the future.

Holding a memory of something learned or fun had while learning is what is important, not the keeping of the item that was used. Yes, the book was excellent, but there is no need to keep it on hand. Yes, using that craft supply was fun back then, but we are finished with it now. Yes, making that drawing was fun, but I don't need to keep every drawing my kids ever did.

Letting go feels liberating.

1 comment:

dstb said...

Love the title of your post.

I know I have bought many things that we never ended up using. My youngest is approaching high school, so earlier this year I was able to go back through our bookshelves and pitch things that he is too old for. (And when I say pitch, they go to my niece who is homeschooling her kids, or to the library book sale).

Every so often, I have the itch to do a reassessment on materials. I will admit there are a few things that I still haven't let go of, but I also know there will be a day when I am ready to let them go (maybe when my youngest graduates).

I will admit to a couple of boxes of kids picture books that have special memories. They have been packed away for the grandkids.

My next project is to organize my genealogy stuff. I've asked my husband for file cabinets for Christmas. Then hopefully I can get the craft/project room in order and start using it!

Best of luck in your purging!

Sarah