Items lying around our home can be overwhelming. Do you want to learn how to get rid of stuff that is piling up around your home and just collecting dust? If so, you’re in the right place!
There can be problems associated with clutter around your home. Decluttering is actually good for your wellbeing.
When clutter is causing stress or frustrations, it is time to learn the art of letting go and how to get rid of stuff.
Sometimes people keep items because they hoard things. Others have collections that get out of hand. Still, others hold onto items because of sentimental reasons.
Consider the reasons why you are holding onto specific items. Did your favorite uncle leave you a piece of artwork when he passed? If you do not love the artwork, you may feel guilty about not wanting to keep it. Remember that letting go of the artwork does not mean that you loved your uncle less. It simply means that you are releasing it to allow someone who will love it to have it.
How to Decide Whether to Keep an Item
Decluttering is all about making hard decisions. When tackling the project of decluttering and getting rid of stuff, ask yourself these 9 questions. Your answers will help you decide what to purge and what to keep.
- Is it broken? If so, is it worth fixing?
- Has this item been used in the last year? If not, will it be used in the near future?
- Would it be expensive or difficult to replace?
- Am I keeping it simply because it would be harder to get rid of it?
- Would I prefer this item or the space it is taking up?
- If I were moving to another city today, would I keep it?
- Is there someone who can enjoy this item or benefit from it more than I am?
- Do I have other things that serve the same purpose?
- Does it fit your style, your space, your needs, your body, etc.?
As you were going through the questions, you may have run into some issues. This is because some possessions cause sentimental and emotional reactions. According to these questions, an object may qualify as an item that needs to be purged, but you simply can’t imagine getting rid of it.
Sometimes, your emotional response is justified. Other times though, you are simply making excuses for holding onto things because of unfounded sentimental, financial or other reasons. You need to understand when you are just making an excuse to justify keeping something, or when you should actually hang onto it.
Common Excuses for Holding onto Things
There are only a few root causes for holding onto possessions. You may have an emotional tie to something that is simply too strong to consider getting rid of it. There could also be a legitimate and sensible reason for keeping an item rather than throwing it out when you are decluttering your environment. Perhaps you spent a lot of money on an object, and that is keeping you from purging it.
The qualification questions above can help you get past your emotions and discover what really needs to be kept, and what stuff you need to get rid of.
You should also bear in mind some of the following common excuses for holding onto clutter that you may be making.
- I paid a lot of money for this!
- I have plenty of room, so why can’t I keep it?
- I might need it someday.
- It’s in perfect condition.
- It is going to come back into style.
- It’s old, it might be valuable.
- It was a gift from ____.
- I am holding it until I can give it to ____.
- I want to save it for my kids.
If you are still having a hard time letting go of anything, take a hard look at all you have. This may sound like a strange exercise but think about the items that you would miss if you lost your home to a natural disaster. If you could easily replace all but a few things, keep only those items that are most important. Let everything else go.
If you are still having a hard time letting go of things, seek a professional to help you. A professional organizer or even therapist can help you work through the emotions attached to the items. They can help you learn the art of letting go.
Once you’ve gotten past the excuses and have narrowed down the items you want to get rid of, use the following tips to help you declutter and get rid of stuff around your home.
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Decluttering Tips for Getting Rid of Possessions
Take photographs of sentimental objects that you have been hanging onto forever. The photographs can easily be organized in a photo album to keep your memories alive, and then you can either donate or throw out the physical object.
Things that you paid a lot of money for can be sold. You may not get anywhere near what you paid for them, but they are not making you any money sitting in your garage or attic either. Don’t play the waiting or guessing game, hoping something will be used one day, or that you may have a valuable antique on your hands.
Have a professional appraiser check out anything you think may be old and valuable. Sell it or trash it based on that advice. If you are holding onto a family heirloom to give to your children, that is admirable. Just realize that you are going to have to purge something else if you decide to keep that particular item.
First-time parents are often guilty of holding on to things for sentimental reasons. They want to keep every homemade card from their child or every picture ever taken of their child. As much as parents love their children and want to remember them as they were, there comes a time when letting go of mementos is all right.
One option to consider, rather than holding onto the items, is taking photos of them. Line your children’s drawings up on the table and take pictures. If the drawings were when the child was much younger, taking a picture of them will probably suffice. For newer drawings, take a picture of your child with their drawings and be sure to date them. This will also help you to remember specifics about your child at the time.
Other things people do not want to throw away are photographs. It does not matter if the photo is blurry or the subject is cut off – some people simply do not want to let go of them. Rather than holding on to every photograph, choose the best ones and place them in a photo album. Scrapbooking would be another option, especially if you journal about the photos, as well.
What do you do with your Grandma’s chipped china that is missing several pieces? It would be difficult to part with the set. However, there is an alternative. Rather than getting rid of the entire set, let each family choose one place setting or cup and saucer to keep. Display them with a photo of your Grandma and it becomes more than old dishes; it becomes a way to remember a beloved family member and something that was important to them.
Remember, decluttering is all about making hard decisions, but the health rewards are worth the daunting task. Learning how to get rid of stuff is freeing and important when tackling the task of decluttering.