De-cluttering & Letting Go

After speaking with several friends and clients during this “stay at home order”, many have said they are taking the time to focus on their home and de-cluttering.  I cringe to think of the long lines at the donation centers when they open up!

We typically help clients with the sorting, de-cluttering & downsizing process. A client who is moving at the end of May is facing this challenge on her own, as we suspect many are.  The question of what to keep and what to let go is not an easy one, because many of our belongings have a story which triggers a memory whether it be someone we love who gave it to us, or a souvenir from a special trip or celebration.  It is very difficult to separate the memory from the item.

There are lots of reasons that block us from de-cluttering & letting go, from guilt to monetary value and a host of other reason. 

Here are 11 questions you can ask yourself to ease the process:

  1. For starters, do I own my stuff or does it own me?  If you are feeling like it takes so much time to organize your belongings, maybe it is time to really evaluate what you have.  Having too much can cause stress.  Believe me, we’ve seen it!
  1. Taking a line from Marie Kondo: does the item bring me joy?  In sorting through war memorabilia with a client recently, he said he didn’t want to review some of the items.  Clearly, they did not bring him joy and there were painful memories.  He wasn’t willing to part with the items but he was willing to put them in a specific box appropriately labelled & note to himself: no need to look at (deep storage).
  1. When was the last time I used this item? If it is useful and practical, then that easily goes in the “keep” category.
  1. Had I forgotten about this item until just now? If you had forgotten about it, you clearly weren’t looking for it and give yourself permission to let go.
  1. Would I buy this item again today?  Evaluate what your lifestyle is today.  Do you pull out grandmother’s fine china every year or not?  Do you even like the pattern?
  1. Is it really worth taking this item with me?  If you are in the midst of a move, remember that the more boxes you have the more the move costs.  Would a picture be something I could substitute for the item?
  1. If I lost this item would I be upset?
  1. Is this item something that I could easily replace if I decided at a later point that I wish I had kept it.  For example, think of a paperback book that if you do decide to read it again could you get it from the library?
  1. What do I gain or lose by keeping this item?  Measure the pros and cons.
  1. What is the worst thing that will happen if I let go of the item?  Keep a box in an area of your house and keep adding to it.  You can let it stay there for awhile, and my guess is you’ll be absolutely fine with what you put in it for donation.  The decision making process gets easier as you go along.
  1. Is this item worth money? Many clients equate value to how much an item cost.  If it was purposeful and useful to you, don’t you think you would be using it.  Just because it cost a lot is not a reason to keep it.

It is one thing to downsize & let go because you have to due to an upcoming move.  However, it is also worth considering purging so your loved ones don’t have to!  It’s not a gift to leave it to them. If you need help with this process, contact us and we can offer some encouragement or hands on help.