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Holy Messy Basement Superman! Pamela needs to read “Packing Light” by Allison Vesterfelt!

packing light 007

I overheard Batman and Superman talking this morning as I went in the basement to let out  Martha, the dog.

“Holy Messy Basement Superman! Pamela needs to read Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt.”

“Batman, I think she already read the book! I think she needs help. This is a job for SUPERMAN!”

Batman and Superman clean the basement.

Holy Messy Basement Superman! This is a mess!

I let out Martha, and then went over and had a talk with Batman and Superman.

“Good morning Batman, Hey Superman. I’m sorry the basement is such a mess.”

“Would you please clean it up. We want to play ping-pong,”  Batman said.

“I want to clean up the mess Batman, but I find it hard to get rid of things.”

Batman and Superman have  faithfully protected my home for six years, and this is the first time I  heard them complain.  They came to live with us when my husband’s company moved to a new office building with better security, and they were no longer needed.

Batman and Superman know I read Packing Light by Allison Verterfelt because I talk about the book all of the time while I try to sort through boxes in the basement.

Allison said this, Allison said that. Allison said, “Your life is waiting. But your arms are full of stuff.” Allison said, “We are all carrying baggage — things we picked up at home, past experiences, expectations for what’s ahead.” Allison said, “The more stuff you bring with you, the more complicated everything gets.”

And right now my life is complicated.

Allison talks about living life with less baggage in her book, Packing Light. Allison, had a graduate degree, a job, and an apartment full of stuff. But something was missing. She sold almost everything and travelled to all 50 States with her friend.

She realized you can’t take everything with you, and what you bring with you matters. She writes about her experiences and her feelings. She writes her own story and encourages us to write ours.

I thought reading Allison’s  book would help me clean out my basement. But now I realize packing light is not just about the boxes in my basement, but the feelings of despair I pack from my past.

I don’t just have to let go of some of my possessions, I need to let go of the hurt I have carried for years.

Allison sent me a free copy of her book in exchange for an honest review. It took me four months to write the review because I didn’t want to deal with the mess in my basement and in my mind. Allison’s book is Allison’s story, but when I read it I felt challenged to think about my own life and what I was packing in my suitcases.

What are you packing? What do you need to leave behind? Please tell me in the comments. I would love to chat with you.

I will be giving away my copy of the book, Packing Light,  in a random drawing on January 1st, 2014. Please comment and share this story on facebook or twitter. Tell your mother or your neighbor. 

Pass it on

The Random Number Generator picked #1, Kathleen Caron. I hope this book helps Kathleen leave behind feelings of not being good enough. God made her and he did a great job.

Thank you to everyone who commented and shared the story.

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About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Pamela Black

    I don’t have a basement. Instead, I have an entire barn full of stuff…and then some…
    Like you, I am an…emotional…collector of my stuff. But I also now have two kids out of the house that have left me with several tubs full of their stuff. The first was my oldest son when he went into the Air Force almost 7 years ago. Long distances have prevented me from returning his stuff. I have paired it down quite a bit though. My oldest daughter left for college 3 years ago and kindly left me about 8 tubs of stuff.
    In addition to their stuff I have tons of craft supplies and my husband has his football paraphernalia and even his old dark room equipment, developer and all.
    This spring I plan to have a Junk sale and get rid of all of it so I can move forward into the future God has planned for me. 🙂

    • Pamela,
      I would love to come to your barn sale. Mind you, I don’t want to add anymore items to my collection of randomness that I save.

      Yes, lets get rid of what is holding us back. It is hard for me to move forward when I am burdened with baggage, real and emotional. God has big plans for you Pamela. I wonder what they are?

  • ecentrk

    I am packing way too much. Five years ago everything i owned was in my motor home and I felt so free. Now I am overloaded with “things”
    Every time I start to lighten up, I get sidetracked.
    Between physical things and digital chaos, I want to go hide on my chaise lounge and just read.
    Your book looks inspiring! I would love to win it but pray it goes to the person who needs it most! ( maybe me, LOL)

    • I know what you mean about wanting to hide when I start to organize the mess in my basement. I hate the idea of spending money on storage containers to put things in I should just get rid of.

  • Kaye

    Oh, wow; this is so very relevant for me right this minute. After three years of some serious downsizing, we closed up our little cabin yesterday and drove away. The things we couldn’t leave home without are packed into our fifth-wheel RV that will be our home for the next seven months – while everything else we own waits for us in storage. I guess I should have been reading this book. I guess I will now.

    • Kaye,
      And a Wow from me too. How exciting to live an adventure in an RV! I can’t imagine how much you had to downsize.
      Allison’s book has really helped me look closely at what I hang on to.

  • La McCoy

    I love packing light and have a blog about it.

  • Janelle

    I need to leave behind my mid life feelings of “I haven’t done enough” and look to the future with excitement.

    • Me too Janelle.
      That old mid life feeling can get you every time. I think it comes from comparing and looking at the empty part of the glass. I want to look at the water that is in the glass, all the things I have done, and not what I didn’t do.
      Today is your future. Are you excited!

  • Yes, Kathleen, those feelings can be left behind. Perhaps you can find a suitcase and put the feelings of not being good enough or rich enough in there,and then get rid of the suitcase. My goal is to leave those feelings behind in this year, and start next year without them.

  • I liked this post because it deals with stuff we should be dealing with. Baggage. I think it’s hard to get rid of stuff that was given to you by people who pass on. Maybe it feels like you are getting rid of them. I am determined to keep doing it though. Share what you liked most about that book, Pamela.

    • Hello Anne,
      The book helped me see that I needed to let go of my emotional baggage and my attachment to my possessions to be able to move forward.
      I understand the emotional attachment to possessions of people who have died. I will keep some things, but not all. The objects are just objects. I don’t have time to spend my life dusting off the products of someone else’s life.
      I need to live and create my own life.

  • Michelle Crooker

    Oh come on now – what are you packing? Isn’t that a loaded question. 🙂 Seriously though, I am trying to go through my things and pass along, donate, sell or just get rid of the things I don’t need or don’t use. But it is hard – I find it easier to help a friend get rid of things (and have done so on more than one occasion) than it is to get rid of my own things. Have you thought about having someone help you? Someone who isn’t attached to your things can ease them out easier than you can – even if it is just having someone else take things to the thrift store so you don’t have to actually see them leaving – friends make it easier.

    • Hello Michelle,
      You are a friend I know I can count on to help, but this basement battle is one I have to tackle on my own. The battle of I am good enough and I don’t need things to feel valued.
      Friends do make it easier. And anytime one of my friend needs help going through their collection of plastic cups from restaurants, I am always available.

  • Teresa Richardson

    I am packing several totes full of yarn that I’ve had for over 10 years. I have folders and boxes full of articles torn from magazines, newsletters, and printed off the internet.

    • Hello Teresa,
      Do you have a project for the yard next year? And what will you do with the folders and articles? Maybe an idea for a book? Can you call it research or is it time to use it for kindling?
      It can be a burden or a blessing.
      Some of what I keep feels like a bowling ball on my ankle.