I have written about having a stroke before here. It is amazing how being reminded of your mortality causes you to evaluate your life. For weeks after, all I could think about is what I would leave behind for my family to have to deal with. The summer after the stroke, as soon as I could get back on my feet, I began cleaning and clearing through the clutter of a lifetime. I can't imagine how many pounds of clothes we took to Goodwill or how much I contributed to the local landfill that summer.
Since that time, we have begun recycling and reusing as much as possible. I stop and think before I buy. I've started operating on the one-in, one-out theory. (Since my laptop purchase, I'm trying to figure out how to get everything off of the old computer so I can give it away.) That theory works well for shoes and clothes, but it works for small appliances and almost anything else, too. I don't need trinkets or things. In fact, I am getting rid of a few more of those things this weekend at our community garage sale. (Whatever is left is going to Goodwill, the recycling center, and the landfill.) And as much as I cleared out the summer after the stroke, I am surprised how much more there is to shed.
Someday I would like to downsize to a smaller house. (Preferably on a lake!) The thought of doing that is overwhelming. That means some major pieces of furniture will have to go, too. So as much clutter as I have cleared, there is still a lot that could stand to go. It really is true that our possessions expand to fit the size of our house. In a country of excess, we all could be poster children for greed and extravagance.