“Where did all this stuff come from? I don’t have time for a life. I need to get away! Ever feel this way?”
Feeling overwhelmed by my stuff is a big part of what caused me to begin simplifying my life. I’d wonder, “Where did all this stuff come from?” I don’t even like to shop.
Well, I used to like to buy yarn and books, whether I needed them or not. But while I had a lot of books and a good sized yarn stash, those things made up only a small fraction of the stuff I had and didn’t really need. So where did all this stuff come from?
It’s free. Or cheap. Or on clearance.
Like many people, I have a tendency to want things I don’t need just because they’re a good deal. There are two ways to deal with this problem.
One is to change the way you think. Before you accept the free item or buy the cheap one, remind yourself that if you’re not actually going to use the thing, you’re actually losing money, even on free items.
How? You need more room to store all that stuff you’ve collected.
The second way is to keep collecting the stuff, but give it to someone who will use it, like a friend or a homeless shelter.
Of course, you’ll need to acquire only stuff you know will be accepted by a particular person or organization. You’ll also need a plan for getting the stuff from your house to the people who need it.
I might need it someday.
You’re right. You might. But is it worth keeping just in case? Consider a few factors when deciding what to keep:
- What’s the likelihood you’ll need it?
- How expensive would it be to replace?
- How difficult would it be to replace?
- How much space does it take up?
- Will you need it in an emergency?
Some people aren’t particularly sentimental about old letters and such, but I am. Such things sometimes hold special memories.
While it’s true we still have the memories in you heads even without the stuff, in some cases, the stuff helps us remember. Makes the memories more real.
I don’t believe you need to get rid of all your sentimental stuff. However, you probably don’t need to keep nearly as much as you have.
When deciding what to keep, ask yourself these questions.
- Do you ever look at or listen to your sentimental items?
- When you’re gone, will your heirs enjoy the materials or will they go straight to the dumpster?
- Does the item bring back good memories or bad?
- Would you be just as happy keeping a handful of representative items? Say, a few special letters from your sister rather than every letter she’s ever sent you?
- If you had a photo or scanned copy to look at, would that bring you the same memories?
What about you?
Why are you keeping things you’re not using? What are the hardest items for you to declutter?