Why is it so difficult to start de-cluttering and to get rid of some of the stuff we've accumulated over the years?
Perhaps the question we should ask is "Why is it we have accumulated so much stuff?"
Everyone is constantly being tempted to buy newer and snazzier looking items, though probably less sturdy ones. I bet anyone over the age of fifty-five remembers when material possessions were not so readily available and that re-furbishing was a way of life. ‘Second-hand’ was a very respectable option and often the only one.
In recent times, people have made use of storage companies to reduce the amount of stuff taking up space in their homes. This is a temporary measure which only delays the time when most of it will need to be jettisoned for good.
As a presenter at a commercial real estate seminar put it “It’s astounding how many people will spend $200 a month to store $200 worth of junk!”
The process can begin in one place in the home and doesn’t need to be a sudden life changing project. Done gradually over a period of time it becomes a re-discovery of the emotions and histories associated with the various objects.
Some stuff can be re-used differently in the home or re-gifted. Some can be turned into cash at garage sales or on web sites such as Kijiji (like e-bay but broken into smaller geographical areas such as your home town) or in the old standby, Bargain Finder.
I was recently involved in two small examples of de-cluttering. I cleaned out the medicine cabinet, ejecting several items I had not used for ages including some liquid tooth soap that had hardened. I now enjoy a much cleaner bathroom space and a tidier, less cluttered feel to the start of the day.
The other was doing a small kitchen renovation involving some pull-out drawers to hold bigger cooking containers. This led to re-arranging the other cupboards and parting company with several bowls and kitchen utensils which won’t be missed but will find a good new home.
Have you ever had the experience of throwing some item away after having held on to it for years, or even decades, then finding that you could have used it a couple of days later?
If you have, consider this - if it’s a ‘one-off’ individual item – keep it, if it’s a duplicate, keep the best one.