Last month I suggested you tackle the stuff that you find easy to part with. I hope it helped you get started. But there is more to come! This month, the going gets tougher as we examine some of the most common reasons – or shall I say excuses – I hear for holding onto our stuff.
The excuse: I used to / Someday I might…
“I used to play golf before we started a family but now I spend my time driving the kids to their various activities, but I might pick it up again when they grow up.” “My children might want to pass their toys to their children when they get married and have children of their own.” Don’t keep things because of what you used to do or because of what you or someone else might do someday. Focus on the NOW! You’ll always be able to buy, rent or borrow what you need when you need it.
The excuse: I might lose weight and it will fit again.
I don’t mean to be harsh here, but the reality is that it doesn’t fit you today and that there is no guarantee that it will fit you tomorrow. You may lose less – or more – than what you were targeting. You may not like the item tomorrow. Fashion trends change. Fabrics deteriorate. Colours fade. Keep only what fits now. And reward yourself when you’ve achieved your goals and go shopping. You’ll really deserve it then, won’t you?
The excuse: It was expensive.
Yes, and it’s costing you even more than you think… Why? Because it’s costing you valuable space that could be better used for the things you use or love. Because it’s costing you time and energy to retrieve the things you really use amongst all you have. Because it’s a nagging reminder that you spent a lot of money on something you are not using. And keep in mind that if it was expensive, you should be able to sell it and get a good price out of it.
The excuse: It was a gift.
Someone who loves you made you a present? You don’t like it but you feel obligated to keep it? Do you really think that a person who loves you would want you to feel miserable just looking at their present? I don’t think so. Sometimes we make mistakes when we pick up a gift for someone but isn’t the love in the giving more than in the gift itself? So pass it on and let it be enjoyed by someone who will know how to appreciate it more than you do.
The excuse: It reminds me of someone or something.
It’s ok to keep a few items that were passed onto you by someone you cherished (tell me about my grandmother’s silverware!), that remind you of a special occasion (my first Mother’s Day present made by my son!) or that you earned because of your hard work (my coloured taekwondo belts!). But do you really need to have a home full of sentimental items especially if they are covered in dust and carton boxes? Do you really honour the person or event’s memory if the item is mixed up with plenty of other stuff you’ve kept? Making a choice about what to keep will truly give it the importance it deserves. Trust me, you won’t forget the person or the event even if you let go of the item. And if need be, you can always take a picture of it and do a special photo album that will take less space. It’s time to be creative!
Someone told me one day “Sometimes you have to be harsh to be kind”. I do know both from professional but also personal experience how hard it can be to let go of some of our stuff. But ultimately it allows us to make room for what’s really important in our lives. Engage some help to support you in this process if you find it too difficult. It can be a friend or a family member, or if they are too judgmental, a Professional Organiser like myself. Good luck!