In my efforts to purge, downsize, simplify and minimize, perhaps the most difficult objects to make decisions about are those with sentimental value. I am definitely not one of those minimalists that have blank, white walls and only a certain number of items in my home. My goal in simplifying and minimizing is to have more time and space in my life for what is most important and to only be surrounded by people, things, and experiences that I love.
If I have fewer things, I spend less time cleaning, and more time engaged in activities with family and friends that I love. If I have less things, and someone spontaneously says, let’s pack a bag and go to Europe (wishful thinking, but just saying), my response would be an avid “yes” with no hesitation, as I would not have to worry about a bunch of stuff holding me down.
While some of my early years in life were very challenging bouncing around trying to get an education and housing, I have to say that they were the most freeing times of my life. There is freedom in the fact that I hitch hiked the west coast in the 90s with only a backpack. While I am much more settled now and have all the accoutrements needed in a household, having only what I absolutely need and love in my life enables me to regain some sense of that feeling of freedom.
It is very easy to go through the house and purge items that are multiples of each other. Did you get married recently and end up with three blenders? Even if you are the green smoothie queen, I hardly doubt you run all three at the same time. Most people can get by with one. Do I really need 37 coffee mugs? Yes, 37 coffee mugs. I recently took them all out of the cupboard and counted them. That’s a mug for every day of the month without doing dishes. Who doesn’t do dishes? I kept my 6 favorites and donated the rest.
I really won’t go there (yet) when it comes to sentimental items like that jean jacket you wore to high school football games or a copy of your graduation announcement, but when it comes to items with bad karma, it’s time to let it go.
Sometimes we hang on to things not because they are functional or useful, but because they evoke certain emotions and memories when we look at them. If those are happy times, then okay, but if not: let it go.
Some bad karma items to which I recently said good riddance and could not be happier about it include:
- A dress I wore last fall to the apple orchard with someone who I was dating, and the relationship ended very poorly. Every time I looked at the dress, I would remember the apple orchard day, and I haven’t worn it since.
- The travel mug that was in my backpack when I hitch hiked both the west and east coasts. It was my only “dish” and I drank and ate everything out of it. I don’t need to be reminded every day of how hard life used to be. I am where I am right now and right now, I have bowls and plates and glasses.
- The strappy heels I wore to a wedding, which spent their time on the dance floor by themselves under a table because they were so uncomfortable, I spent more time barefoot than I did wearing them.
- The blanket that was a wedding present 15 years ago. I have since divorced, and I have many other blankets. I do not need that one to remind me of a failed marriage. I have learned from my experience and moved on.
- Cigarette. I quit smoking years ago, but have always kept a pack in my center console “just in case.” I haven’t touched them in years. I don’t need the reminder. My life is different now. I threw them away.
Sometimes when you look at something, it brings up memories that are painful, or reminds you of a time that was really challenging for you. Those are the things you need to kick to the curb and let go. Do not let baggage bring you down. If it is not purposeful, serving you in some way, or actively contributing to your current happiness, then it is time to say goodbye to bad karma.
Some items are there to remind you of challenges you have overcome or survived, like the cigarettes I had in my console. I don’t need them to remind myself that I was able to quit smoking. I have 13 marathon medals that prove I quit smoking and live a healthier life.
Bad karma can be hard to identify sometimes. It could be something you use everyday “just because.” Evaluate the items in your life to be sure that they are either useful or bring you joy. Life is too short to hang onto reminders of miserable times.
Finally, it is also important to remember that it is not just things that can produce bad karma. Toxic relationships and people, bad habits, negative reinforcing behaviors are all things we need to break up with. I recently went off the grid and kicked my face book account to the curb because it was making me sad. I stopped making the effort to talk to, call, and text people who never take the initiative to talk to, call or text me. Relationships are a two-way street. If you are the only one doing the work, it may be time to engage in some self-care and disengage from people who either don’t care or give you nothing in return. I am now having higher quality interactions with the people I want to have in my life.
Is there a bad habit you want to give up? Quit smoking or engage in healthier activities? Do it. Say goodbye to bad karma and make changes in your life. Don’t wait for New Year’s or the first of the month. You get one life. The time is now.
Say good riddance to bad karma and dissociate from the things in life that harm you. If it is not helping you, serving a purpose, or bringing you joy, it is time to let go. Life is way too short to hang onto that which brings you down.
What bad karma items, people or habits in your life can you kick to the curb?