I came across this article about decluttering, detailing why it’s difficult to part with things, even if you don’t use, or even see them, that often. We have accomplished quite a bit of decluttering over the past few years. Getting rid of some stuff has been easy, some not-so-much. I thought I would throw in my two cents as far as tips to make it easier for anyone struggling with the process.
But I spent so much money on that. One of the biggest hurdles is thinking about the money you spent on the stuff you should declutter. Let’s be honest here. If you have stuff squirreled away in boxes, drawers, and closets that you never see or use, you already don’t care about the money you spent. If you are really fretting over it, have a garage sale. Otherwise, donate it, and write it off your taxes if you can.
Clothing. Other than the money you spent on clothes from which you should divorce yourself, the second hesitation is: “I might wear that when I get back in shape.” If it’s not couture or some absolutely beloved piece of clothing, chances are that if you do get back to that size clothing, you will probably be happy about losing weight, and you will want to buy some new stuff. Plus, is that jacket with shoulder pads ever going to be in style again??
Photographs. Many people have their “treasured” photos stored in boxes. When was the last time you looked at them? It took me the better part of two years, but I scanned in every photo we had in boxes, albums, and drawers. I won’t lie, the process of doing so is tedious, but many of those photos hadn’t had eyes laid upon them in over 20 years. Having photographs in boxes under the basement stairs isn’t doing anyone any good. Now that I have them on the computer and online, I look at them all the time.
I threw away the photos after I scanned them in. Many people my age were aghast at that, but younger people said, why wouldn’t you? My kids have grown up in the computer age, and most of their photos were shot using a cell phone camera. Their photos are all on the computer and online. They have no hard copies, and don’t think twice about it. I have them on my hard drive, on a back up external hard drive, on another external hard drive, and on Apple, Google, Flickr, Amazon, Photobucket, and One Drive. They are safer than they were in cardboard boxes.
Paper. Anything paper got scanned into the computer and tossed. Ticket stubs, programs, newspaper clippings, kid’s “artwork”, receipts, and anything I thought I might need in the future. Obviously, you want to keep certified copies of birth/death certificates, and other extremely important documents. But you would be surprised at how few of those there are.
Music. We had a fairly large collection of CD’s. I spent months ripping them into the computer and onto iTunes. To be honest, I’ve rarely listened to them since. We just find streaming more convenient. I felt like I wasted a lot of time, and I wish I had been more selective. Would ever want to listen to that White Snake or disco CD again? My wife put her foot down on throwing out the CD’s themselves. I acquiesced, realizing we all have a limit on what we will part with.
Those were the hardest things to deal with. Clothes, photos, music, and paper stuff. Obviously, there are junk drawers, unused kitchen items, glassware, dinnerware, and other things to deal with. But emotionally the things I covered above were the most difficult.
Lastly, and this helped us a lot, we would visualize the house giving a sigh of relief when we got rid of all the stuff we decluttered. These things were occupying air space, weighing us down emotionally, and weighing the house down physically. Our home is an extension of ourselves, so if it is cluttered and weighed down, so are we. And because I’m an extreme animist, and think that everything has some kind of spiritual essence, I thanked everything we gave away or tossed. All those items meant something to us at one time or another, and I just wanted to thank them for bringing us happiness or joy when they did.
We don’t have a minimalist home. We like our eclectic decor, so there is a bohemian/goth/hippie/witchy vibe to our home because of our stuff. But the stuff that was “stored” no longer served its’ purpose sitting in boxes, so we either gave it another life through putting it online or on the computer, or donating it to someone who might love it just as we had at one time.
Hope this helps someone who is thinking of purging their stuff.