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In the Name of God بسم الله
starlight

Getting rid of material things

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Salam everyone, 

I need some practical suggestions to help me get rid of material things from my life, something else other than 'throw it away if it doesn't spark joy' :dry:  I don't own a lot of things to begin with but I am trying to reduce it down even further. For some time now they have been weighing heavily on my mind and soul.

I will try breaking my issue into points.

- I am not attached to 90% of the things I own or to worldly possessions in general but there are a few things I am having a difficult time parting with. First of these is the clothes my kids wore when they were babies. I don't have baby pictures or videos from the time so I am holding a on to most of their clothes from the time.  

- Books. I can't give up buying books and I have a very hard time giving them away. Switching to ebooks failed with me. I do read a lot of book off the internet but I still want to buy real books. Returning to basic is something I did with journals and notebooks too in the recent past. After using apps for writing down chores and memos for years I started using notepads and diaries and it felt infinitely better. So what do I do about books and stationery? :help:

-For the past two years I have a carry on packed and ready for ziyaraats 24x7x365.It contains a few pairs of clothes,a couple of pairs of shoes,some scarves, an abaya,a chador, tasbih,turbah, dua book,a notebook,and a few other things.I could just throw in my toiletry bag and have everything I need for my day to day life. Would attempting to cut down my possessions down to ziyaraat level basic would be too impractical? (Not exactly this as I would need a few more things but you get the idea) 

- Kids stuff, the things they own now. Where is the balance? we don't buy a lot but I don't want them to feel deprived either. I am the one who has decided that material things are futile and only hold one back, they don't understand this yet,I don't expect them to, that would be unfair but this doesn't keep me from wishing that I could just give away the sack full of stuffed toys or the twenty million toy cars,or the toys that came with McDonald's meals or the crafts made out of popsicle sticks.That would be wrong, these are their possessions. 

- Anyone here living a minimal basic life? Any tips would be welcome.

[Edit]Just writing this made me feel good. :blush:

Edited by starlight

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10 minutes ago, starlight said:

First of these is the clothes my kids wore when they were babies. I don't have baby pictures or videos from the time so I am holding a on to most of their clothes from the time. 

I don't want this to sound like a "Ask haji" answer, though it probably does, but why don't you take pics of the clothes and then dispose of them?

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14 minutes ago, starlight said:

- Kids stuff, the things they own now. Where is the balance?

Let them enjoy, learn, make mistakes with whatever they like keeping, displaying, hoarding. 

For myself and the kids I draw the line where the quantity of things and their storage starts getting in the way of living. So really old stuff goes into deep storage (brown boxes in the garden shed).

Even there I have to make compromises, because my mum doesn't get that principle and wants to keep majalis stuff such as styrofoam cups (used once a year) in the kitchen.

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3 hours ago, starlight said:

Salam everyone, 

I need some practical suggestions to help me get rid of material things from my life, something else other than 'throw it away if it doesn't spark joy' :dry:  I don't own a lot of things to begin with but I am trying to reduce it down even further. For some time now they have been weighing heavily on my mind and soul.

I will try breaking my issue into points.

- I am not attached to 90% of the things I own or to worldly possessions in general but there are a few things I am having a difficult time parting with. First of these is the clothes my kids wore when they were babies. I don't have baby pictures or videos from the time so I am holding a on to most of their clothes from the time.  

- Books. I can't give up buying books and I have a very hard time giving them away. Switching to ebooks failed with me. I do read a lot of book off the internet but I still want to buy real books. Returning to basic is something I did with journals and notebooks too in the recent past. After using apps for writing down chores and memos for years I started using notepads and diaries and it felt infinitely better. So what do I do about books and stationery? :help:

-For the past two years I have a carry on packed and ready for ziyaraats 24x7x365.It contains a few pairs of clothes,a couple of pairs of shoes,some scarves, an abaya,a chador, tasbih,turbah, dua book,a notebook,and a few other things.I could just throw in my toiletry bag and have everything I need for my day to day life. Would attempting to cut down my possessions down to ziyaraat level basic would be too impractical? (Not exactly this as I would need a few more things but you get the idea) 

- Kids stuff, the things they own now. Where is the balance? we don't buy a lot but I don't want them to feel deprived either. I am the one who has decided that material things are futile and only hold one back, they don't understand this yet,I don't expect them to, that would be unfair but this doesn't keep me from wishing that I could just give away the sack full of stuffed toys or the twenty million toy cars,or the toys that came with McDonald's meals or the crafts made out of popsicle sticks.That would be wrong, these are their possessions. 

- Anyone here living a minimal basic life? Any tips would be welcome.

[Edit]Just writing this made me feel good. :blush:

:ws:

Firstly, its really sweet that you are holding on to your children's baby clothes, maybe keep it to one or two things only. It holds sentimental value so of course you would want to keep it. When a natural disaster occurs, don't people grab on those exact items or photos that remind them of their most precious memories.

I think remembering that there's nothing wrong with having a few extra nice things that might not be necessary but we just like having them. If we do out obligatory duties (like paying khums etc). then its nice to treat ourselves as long we don't go OTT (whatever that may mean to you).

In terms of the children's possessions, you could maybe explain to them that there are much less fortunate children around that may never get a nice toy. If they then ever want to, they can give some of their toys away and it would make those other children really happy and they would have done something nice for someone else. This can also help them going forward as they get older.

Other than that, I honestly think its all about balance and really thinking about your life situation and how you can strike a balance in your life and in your circumstances.

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3 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

Let them enjoy, learn, make mistakes with whatever they like keeping, displaying, hoarding. 

This makes a lot of sense. ^^ It's better to let them make their own decisions and learn from the experiences with me just providing guidance (and suppressing an urge to scream when my 8 yr old asks for yet another box to store his broken cars) I have been teaching them to focus more on experiences than possessions in life. I think they are learning :)

[EDIT] @Heavenly_Silk Mashallah, both the kids especially my daughter is good about giving away things to less fortunate. They always help me sort through their toys and clothes to give away. But this was a good suggestion. I haven't bought very few clothes and personal stuff in a year and it honestly feels very good to have fewer things. 

I started work at a new place last month.The first couple of weeks were very busy and I didn't have time to move in my things.I managed with the bare essentials and I was surprised how peaceful and extremely productive it was to work in a nearly empty room devoid of everything but a desk, few chairs and an almost empty bookshelf. 

Edited by starlight

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Kids clothing is always needed at women's shelters and orphanages. Keep a few for sentimental value and donate the rest. Allah bless you. 

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2 hours ago, Marbles said:

Quoting Rumi, wanting to get rid of material possessions,

What's going on with you @starlight!!?? :confused:

Meet me in Konya, Marbs!!! :grin:

Have always been fascinated by Turkey so maybe I am just setting the stage to run off there. 

2 hours ago, Marbles said:

a hand carry ready for ziarat trips.

What exactly do you find wrong with the above^^  Preparedness for ziyaraat? or the fact that I have packed only a hand carry? :hahaha: It's funny because I travel light and most people can't get over a woman travelling with just one cabin sized suitcase.This last time I was there this Iraqi guy came to pick me from the airport and he told me to get my luggage pointing to the conveyor belt. I showed him my hand carry and said "this is it,let's go"...he asked me THREE times, ''are you sure?" "you have everything in there?" "you did not bring anything else??" (read: Are you not out of your mind or suffering from amnesia)

I found it very amusing.

I got the same reaction from my roommate who had a BIG suitcase apart from another smaller one.While it took me literally minutes to decide on an outfit,get ready and be out of the room to walk to the harram she wasted so many precious minutes thinking 'does this scarf look better with this abaya or the other one? Chador or Abaya? Or Chador over abaya? Black or coloured? Plain one or embroidered? Cross body bag or bagpack? She had to spend another whole evening packing and repacking everything when it was time to go back.

I believe this is a good example which can be applied to our general lives too, how focusing on useless stuff takes us away from our real objective in life,how material possessions start owning us and how much burden we will have when it's time to go back. 

To quote Imam Ali(عليه السلام) 'life is a journey' so I am just trying to travel light! 

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Somehow I don't think Starlight's interest in Japanese minimalism will extend to their food philosophy. See the programmes below to get an idea of what I mean.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/latest/?type=tvEpisode&

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I used to also like buying things and I realized that it was without a reason so have been trying to really cut down on a lot. It feels so good! Especially easy is picking outfits :P

For the children’s clothes, maybe you could keep a few pieces for each child that are extra special. Maybe a dress that one wore to their first eid, or something that reminds you of a good time. 

For the books, you could gift them to friends, family. I think it could be a sweet sentimental gift and you’re sure they’re in safe hands. Maybe just keep the ones you really love and reread often.

Stationary can be kept in a way that you use each thing completely. Don’t buy any new ones, make sure to use all you’ve got until you buy more. I’ve recently bought way too much art supplies so I’m practicing this with those things. 

Kids stuff can be cut down by what they don’t use/play with anymore. Things that they’ve outgrown may be a good start. You can ask them to help you start to give away what they find they don’t want anymore.

 

not sure if any of that helps :blush:

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On 4/27/2019 at 2:42 AM, starlight said:

First of these is the clothes my kids wore when they were babies. I don't have baby pictures or videos from the time so I am holding a on to most of their clothes from the time.  

Keep them for sentimental issues. You do not have to give them away or get rid of them if they hold deep personal meaning. Keep them as close to you and for as long as you want. It'll only make you upset if you give them away or get rid of them.

On 4/27/2019 at 2:42 AM, starlight said:

So what do I do about books and stationery?

Donate them to a library or school. It'll give an inner satisfaction even if you are attached to them. Think about the knowledge and happiness you are sending out there for someone who perhaps wouldn't have access to that knowledge or joy from reading them.

On 4/27/2019 at 2:42 AM, starlight said:

I have a carry on packed and ready for ziyaraats 24x7x365.It contains a few pairs of clothes,a couple of pairs of shoes,some scarves, an abaya,a chador, tasbih,turbah, dua book,a notebook,and a few other things.I could just throw in my toiletry bag and have everything I need for my day to day life.

Give them to a person or org that assists people going for Ziyarat. Forget the sawaab, just think of the inner joy you will feel knowing that someone who is going for Ziyarat that may not have had the means to buy those things will have a chance to use them. 

On 4/27/2019 at 2:42 AM, starlight said:

Kids stuff, the things they own now.

How old are your kids? 

On 4/27/2019 at 2:42 AM, starlight said:

I am the one who has decided that material things are futile and only hold one back

You have to be very careful when deciding to take that route. I totally agree with teaching children the true value of possessions and teaching them the knowledge of what is necessary, what is a comfort, as well as what is unnecessary excess. However, you have to be really conscious of how they feel when they are in the presence of other kids that have more possessions. If I were to limit what my kids have, but it only causes them to feel deprived because all of their friends have things that they don't, then that would break my heart to see them sad.

I understand that you can't learn what it means to be underprivileged until you have felt the pain yourself, but its one thing to not give them excess, while its totally another to teach them the lack of value of excess possessions. Just my opinion of course. I tend to spoil my kids, but I, and my wife, also go out of our way to teach them to help those that need it. I'd rather have my kids give and share things with other kids then to deprive them of the chance to learn the joy and value of making someone else happy.

On 4/27/2019 at 2:42 AM, starlight said:

Anyone here living a minimal basic life?

Define "minimal basic life" ?

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