Recently I've been overwhelmed by an urge to get rid of a lot of my belongings. It started a month ago, when I found myself with a free evening. I started sorting through some clothes, ruthlessly rooting out the clothes that I realised I wasn't going to wear again. I offered them to some friends, and whatever was left went to the charity shop. Then old hats/scarves/gloves that I'd had sitting in a drawer for ages and had no need for. At this point, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself for having got rid of a few boxes/bags worth of stuff.
But instead of stopping there, I continued. 75% of my DVDs went, sold for a quid each to some friends. Then I went through my book collection again, removing a further half to get rid of and sell. Suddenly, where I'd previously seen just stuff, I started seeing things I didn't need any longer. A couple of lomo cameras I didn't use any longer, some kitchen stuff I never used, textbooks I didn't use, board games, cookbooks - nothing was safe from the decluttering mania.
Initially it made my room look a lot messier (piles of stuff, everywhere) but it's now settling down as people come and collect what they've claimed. I've managed to sell quite a lot of stuff (turns out selling a dvd for a quid doesn't sound like much, but when you're selling 40 of them, it adds up quite quickly), and made over £150 so far. The rest I've just given away or taken to a charity shop - so far nothing has gone in the bin.
I think I've just suddenly realised that it's all replaceable. If I want to watch a dvd I've got rid of, I'll borrow it from the video shop or a friend. If I want to re-read a book, I can get it from a library. But generally if I've not used something in the last year, I most likely won't want to use it any time soon. I've also realised that my interests and tastes change. It's part of who I am. I get enthusiastic about hobbies - some stick around for good, others pass on by (like my lomography obsession) and I move on to new things. There's no point in living surrounded by the stuff from my past.
I've still got a long way to go (I still have a fair amount of stuff...), but I'm getting there. And instead of feeling a sense of loss about letting things go, I'm getting a real kick out of it...