Monday, April 19, 2010

Organizing Tip: Emotional Clutter

The easiest way to tame clutter is to let go of all the stuff, but its easier said than done when we often have emotional attachments to things. Here are some common reasons we hang on to too much stuff for far too long.

1. It's a family heirloom. We love our family, but we don't always love their possessions, which can be troublesome when we inherit family heirlooms. Some people equate the disposal of heirlooms with the disposal of family memories. Memories of a loved one is in your head and heart and not embodied in a physical item.

2. It's an antique. Just because something is old doesn't automatically mean it's valuable. If it's old and beautiful and you love it, it's worth keeping. Otherwise, sell it or donate it.

2. It cost a lot of money to acquire. I've made this mistake many times, especially with clothes and shoes. There are countless pairs of painful shoes I held on to but never wore because I wanted to get my money's worth. In retrospect, I should have sold them when they were still in fashion. Value is based on an item's usefulness or the amount of pleasure derived from it, not how much money you spent on it.

3. It's still in good condition. If something is in good condition but you don't find it useful or beautiful, then it's clutter.

4. I'll use it someday. If you haven't used it in the recent past, what makes you think you'll use it in the near future? I recently got rid of a box of "I'll use it one day" items kicking around in my garage for the last year. I can't recall a single item in that box.

5. It will be back in style. Fashion trends get recycled every few decades, but they get tweaked with new colors and fabrics. You will date yourself with the original version. If you wore a trend once before, your turn is over.

Only keep things that you believe to be useful and beautiful, and your life will be simpler and richer.

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