For a long time, almost all I talked about was decluttering. Why? I had a lot of stuff. In many respects, I still do, despite making a tremendous amount of progress.
When I first started blogging, it wasn’t just to track my pennies–or pick them up. I wanted to spend and save more intentionally. After all, we had just purchased our home and our closet collapsed from all the useless stuff I crammed into it.
At that moment, it was obvious that I needed to declutter.
But recently, I lost a lot of that decluttering steam. While I’m not sure we ever hit minimalist standards, we definitely had (and have) less stuff than most people. Even so, I knew we had more things we could let go of, but I just kind of…stopped.
I was out of steam, energy, enthusiasm.
It didn’t feel productive anymore, and it certainly wasn’t joyful.
Until all of a sudden, it was. An unexpected Facebook message this week changed it all.
Hanging Onto Clutter
With a new baby set to make their debut any day now, I’ve been preparing. And by preparing I mean trying not to go into labor while teaching and washing a lot of teeny tiny clothes in my free time. I also decided to give away the excess. And let me tell you, there’s some excess.
Months and months after HP was born, my sister-in-law gifted us a giant box of hand-me-downs that she was finally ready to part with. Most of it was too small by the time we sorted it, but we appreciate the gesture regardless. There was also a blanket in the box. By that point, HP already had an abundance of blankets, including one that was very much The Blanket in his life.
Still, I hung onto this box and the blanket because many of the things were practically new and well, you never know.
Making the Best of a Buy Nothing Group
Fast forward to baby 2, and it turns out, you do know. Or at least I do. I know we have too much stuff already, and it’s time to rehome some of it. So I started with that box of extras that we never used.
I contemplated selling the blanket, making it part of a newborn bundle on Poshmark. But then I realized I want space more than I want a few dollars. So I listed the blanket and an old diaper bag in my Buy Nothing group.
A few people commented and at least one person indicated they were interested. Still, one reply stood out from the rest. I was actually taken aback by the tone. It was equal parts desperate and aggressive, insisting that I wait and check my DMs. My initial reaction was to reach for the block button, but I actually read the DM instead.
And I’m glad I did. I couldn’t believe what I was reading:
She’s been looking for a blanket for years. Not just any blanket, but my blanket. Almost a decade ago, her autistic son got one just like it, and it’s his comfort object. The only problem is that comfort objects don’t last forever, especially when they do a lot of comforting.
So imagine her surprise scrolling through a Buy Nothing group only to spot his exact blanket. Or at least an identical replacement. She asked if there was any way that she could have or buy the blanket even if she wasn’t first in line.
I quickly reached out to the other interested person. They happily agreed to pass along the blanket, settling for just the diaper bag. I quickly messaged the news and arranged a pick up time.
A Smile and a Spark of Joy
She came by for the blanket last night. Maybe an hour or so after, she sent me another DM. In it was a picture of her son holding his new blanket. To protect his privacy, I couldn’t see his facial expression, but I’m positive he was smiling. Or at least his mom was.
And I knew I was, too.
Because after months and months of going through the motions with decluttering and giving things away, I felt true joy. Of course, a coincidence like this will likely never happen again.
But it was the perfect reminder that we have so much more than we think and so much more than we need. While we often talk about keeping things that spark joy, maybe it’s time to look at decluttering from another perspective:
How can we spark joy with what we give away?