Why do we keep things that we don’t really want or need?
Memories are tied to our stuff. Whether it is a football from the last high school game? Or maybe the crumbled corsage from a wonderful date? Maybe it is the scarf your favorite aunt knitted but you would not be caught dead wearing? It doesn’t matter what it is, all of us keep stuff that tickle or massage our memories.
Guilt is another reason we keep stuff. Especially things that are inherited or are given to us “to keep it in the family” or to have something that belonged to your great-grandmother. You could not toss that bentwood rocker your Mother rocked you in! Could you? This is the same rocker that needs more money that it’s worth to repair. You spent too much on that pair of shoes, you can’t just put them in a yard sale. And too many of us have jammed closets because we have entire wardrobes in three different sizes.
Fear is a third reason we hold on to things that we don’t need. I need two of something because if something happens to one, I will have the second. I am afraid I might not have the money to get another one. I really need three of them because someone might not return the one they borrowed. I lose things and I am afraid I will be left short!
There are tons of organizing books written on how to cut clutter. The problem is not the stuff, but the reasons we keep these things.
If you are forced to downsize you have to make some decisions. If you are afraid to let go of something because it sparks a memory, some people suggest taking a picture of the item and then let it go. There are plenty of ways to honor the memories instead of a dried flower bouquet. Keeping a son’s ten year moldy macaroni Christmas ornament is not proof of your love.
One thing that can help in cleaning out a clothes closet is to have someone to hold up an item and you decide “keep, donate or not sure.” After the closet is emptied, go back to the not sure pile and make the keep or toss decisions. Then bag up the donate pile and put it in the car’s trunk. For some reason, having someone else hold the item makes it easier to make a decision.
If you have a packed attic, basement, garage or storage area (or all of the above), you might need someone like Mc-Junk can step in and help clarify those items you can let go.
Thoreau advised us to “Simplify, simplify!” When we are inundated by “stuff” that is good advice for all of us!