Is Your “Stuff” Causing You Stress?

I love to keep my “stuff” in great condition.  I take care of them and treat them “properly”.  However, I recently realized how much energy and emotion I put towards material things.  Although I do believe in taking care of what I choose to purchase, or taking care of my home, I personally found myself having emotional attachments which was draining me.

I came across an article that I thought was great and I’m now sharing it with you…enjoy!

Clear Your Living Space By Mary Joan Meagher

On the airplane, on the way home from a wonderful week spent strolling the white sand beaches of Florida, I saw a shopping catalog in the mesh bag on the back of the seat in front of me. It announced in large letters that one could shop while on the airplane. The web site address of the store was given, and the phone embedded in the seat back promised access to the Internet. Wow! A possibility to do two things at once … fly high above the clouds billowing below us, and yet still buy any number of gadgets and gew-gaws. I had just taken a week out of my life to rest and to reflect on nature, and here I was already back in the thick of our commercial culture.

Buying and accumulating “stuff” is one of the preoccupations of our world today. It is fun and exciting when we are young and footloose, and it is a necessity as we settle into family life. We have to work harder and harder to provide food, shelter, clothing, education, and orthodontia for a growing family. But because we love “stuff,” we accumulate more than we need. We acquire what we want as well. Thus the catalog on the back of the airplane seat with listings that ranged from miniaturized TV cameras for surveillance to gold paper weights for executive desks.

How much stress is built up in caring for, protecting, and arranging all this stuff? What do we do with these “things” when we decide to move? Each one must be accounted for, must be packed, must be assigned a new resting place in the new house. Even if staying in the same house, we must display them, dust them, and inventory them.

If you want to reduce stress in your life, start by assessing each room in your house and deciding how you can simplify it. What is present in each space you occupy that is really needed? What object or piece of furniture or accessory was added simply because it is something you acquired along the way? Clear away the clutter. If you don’t want to sell it or give it away, box it up and put it away in storage. Clear your living space.

Look out your windows. Are the views of nature brought into your living space, or are the windows cluttered up with too many elaborate curtains, drapes, or blinds that keep you shut up inside? Simplify your window hangings. Wash the windows. Bring the outside in. Open the window and bring in fresh air. Too often we trap ourselves in our square-footage of space, and neglect the freedom of the outdoors which doors and windows imply.

Wordsworth says “We have given our hearts away” in “getting and spending,” that we “lay waste our powers” in so doing. Reclaim your heart, rebuild your power by simplifying your life, by not letting your possessions own you, by looking out your clear windows and seeing what “in Nature is ours.”

Mary Joan Meagher, Past Minnesota State President of the National League of American Pen Women, is a writer and artist. Her latest project is creating handmade handbags shown on She has been the producer and script-writer for The Time of Our Lives Show for Bloomington Community Education for 20 years, has published poetry and columns in literary magazines, writes logic puzzles for DELL Logic Puzzle Magazine, and Penny Press Original Logic Puzzles. Poetry published in Great Lakes Review, Snowy Egret, Vintage Northwest, Cricket, Evangel and other literary magazines. Her poetry is found on her website: Her books are: Windows: A Book of Poems, and two children’s books: Jeramiah Littlebat and Sarah Follows an Ant. She was a teacher of English and speech, and a drama coach at Regina High School in Minneapolis for 24 years and taught Journal Writing for Adults for Bloomington Community Education for many years.

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