This next step falls under the “O” of PROCESS. O stands for organize and that includes the very important purging stage.
Purge: to cleanse, purify; to get rid of something undesirable, unwanted, unneeded, impure, or imperfect
Ahhh I’ve said the “P” word. Purging our clutter…….why is it so hard to do? People keep “stuff” for all sorts of reasons:
I might need it one day….
I don’t want to hurt so and so’s feelings….
I don’t want to seem ungrateful….
It was so expensive…..
Do you know how much this is worth…..
It brings back so many memories….
Yes these are all great reasons and you know what…. if you have the space then by all means organize your stuff into designated areas and call it a day. However it isn’t always as easy at that because I have found that “pack rats” will quickly fill any space no matter what the size……the “stuff” eventually overwhelms the space. At this point your stuff “owns” you and not the other way around. You need to take back the control because the one thing you have to remember is it’s just stuff.
The questions to ask yourself include “Do I use it regularly, do I love it and do I have the space to store it?” If the answer is well no BUT (place any excuse from the above list here), then you need to examine your motives for wanting to keep it.
The bottom line is why surround yourself with “stuff” you don’t use or love? This is what I like to call negative energy. Negative energy manifests itself into chaos, confusion, resentment, unhappiness, discontent, etc, etc, etc. Designate space for the things you love and use and get rid of the rest. It’s okay to give yourself permission to be happy by ONLY surrounding yourself with the things that bring you joy and provide you with order, function and efficiency on a regular basis.
Okay so back to the excuse list. Let’s address each one:
I might need it one day…yep thats true but if you haven’t used it in a year chances are good you won’t need it anytime soon. You have to weigh the cost between the prime real estate space it takes up and the cost to replace it if by whatever chance you do need to purchase it again.
I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by getting rid of it….okay fair enough….but I would assume the person you don’t want to hurt is close to you or otherwise you wouldn’t be so concerned about their feelings and if that is the case then how much worse do you think this person would feel knowing the additional stress they’ve put you under. If you are keeping something to avoid hurting someone’s feelings you are essentially being a storage house for them. You are giving up storage space in your home to make them happy. I’m sure you can think of many different ways to effectively use your space. Do not be burdened by stuff you are keeping for someone else.
I don’t want to seem ungrateful……another biggie. It’s all about heart….if your heart is in the right place the giver will hopefully understand. You need to do what’s right for you and your family. You don’t always have to tell the giver that you and the item are parting ways. Re-gifting is a popular choice for new items as well as donating items to thrift stores….take it to the thrift store in the next town if you are really worried about it. Oh and don’t forget places like Craigslist or Ebay….just don’t hang onto something out of a sense of obligation…..it only harbors resentment.
It was so expensive…..yes the ol big ticket item we just had to have and there it sits collecting dust….that happens to all of us and you know you’ll never get back what you paid for it but again you have to remember that item is taking up space in your house that more than likely could be used for something else…..which makes THAT piece of real estate more expensive than the item you are hanging onto! Think about it.
Do you know how much this is worth….it’s not worth anything if its just sitting in a box….if it isn’t something you love or use regularly get rid of it and make some money on it now.
It brings back so many memories….ahh the emotional attachment….this one is probably the biggest culprit that holds people back and so I’ve saved it for last. Our memories are so wrapped up in physical material possessions…..that isn’t where the memory is and you know it. It’s in your heart…the stuff just triggers the memory for you….so many of us are afraid we will forget. I can understand that and I suggest that you take a picture of the item and allow the picture to conjure up the memory for you instead. For example, I have kept the Woody doll my son picked out when he was 2 years old prior to going in for major surgery. Thankfully the surgery revealed that my son didn’t in fact have cancer like the Drs. had originally suspected and so this small little Woody doll holds all the emotions that surfaced during that difficult but triumphant time. I get it. For this reason I keep one tote in the top of each of my kids closets for special “memories” and other keepsakes.
Another thing, pay attention to your inner dialogue. For instance, when you are dusting your knick knacks or tripping over your floor clutter and are mumbling and grumbling about it every time you do it, why not do something about it? Less knick knacks equal less clutter equals less dusting. If it isn’t making you happy then pay attention to that.
Just don’t keep repeating the same negative pattern over and over. Do something different.
When I do an organizing job and they really want to keep a particular item, I don’t have a problem with that however it will almost always have to be at the expense of something else. What are you willing to give up to keep that particular item? Pretty soon what you really love and use will become apparent.
Here is a list of questions to use when trying to decide whether or not to keep something:
- Do I love it?
- Do I use it? How long ago did I use it?
- Do I have the room to store it without it being a cluttered space?
- Am I willing to give up something else in order to make room for it?
- Can I imagine myself or anyone else in my family ever loving it or needing it in the foreseeable future?
I recently asked myself these questions when trying to decide between two pieces of serving ware.
I am certainly not saying any of this will be easy. It does take discipline for sure but if you remember to start small, not beat yourself up or get too overwhelmed, you can do it.
How are you making out on your space? What’s been the hardest thing to part with?
Participating in this month’s challenge means you’ll be eligible to win many amazing prizes including:
One year of The Home Office Organizer VIP Membership ~ The Ultimate Home Office Maintenance Program designed to help you stay on task while organizing your office in small steps.
A seat in the 28 Day Declutter Happy Hour Premium E-course ~ helping you clear the physical and emotional clutter that gets in the way of decluttering and getting organized.