They say only keep the things that are beautiful, useful or needed. Obviously, ‘they’ do not have a basement. It’s so very easy to put off making decisions about what to do with stuff and just let those delayed decisions pile up in places like basements, attics, and backs of closets.
Periodically, we vow to attack the clutter! Of course, we start by buying bins and clever containers. That’s right – we buy more stuff because we have too much stuff. But why spend money to organize stuff that’s just clutter? Why are we hanging on to all this stuff??
Because it’s HARD to get rid of it. Once stuff is in our home, it takes WORK to get it out. Decisions have to be made and decisions can be difficult and stressful! We get hung up on the very best way to get rid of the stuff we don’t even want – it’s like we are trying to find good homes for an unexpected litter of kittens. Kittens are adorable but clutter, not so much. Here are some tips I use with my clients to help them work through these tough decisions:
The delay…You paid a lot of money for it and you feel guilty by getting rid of it.
The decision…That money has been spent and can’t be unspent. Instead of worrying about what has been spent, consider the cost of continuing to keep things you don’t want, need or use. Those costs include extra housework, cost to store and worry. When we let these things go, we gain the value of space and calm.
The delay…the item was gifted or inherited, and you feel bad for not keeping it forever.
The decision…Do you love it? No, but you loved the person who gave you this. Feel that love and honor it. More than likely, you have other things that better represent this person so focus on those things and let go of the things that don’t represent that person as well. Letting go of these less treasured things makes room for what we truly treasure.
The delay…You are just not sure the best way to get rid of something. Do you sell it, donate or toss it?
- Sell it…time is money. Weigh the value of your time to sell something against the expected selling price. For example, the cost of your hours to organize a yard sale or post the item online and follow up with potential buyers. Is the expected value of the item worth your time?
- Donate it…it’s wonderful if you find a charity that supports a cause you care about, however, don’t get too stuck on finding the perfect charity. Items gathering dust in a basement have a much better chance helping others when they are out of the basement and in the hands of a charity.
- Toss it…If you wouldn’t give it to a friend, it doesn’t belong in the donation bin. There are a number of ways to recycle or dispose things in an environmentally responsible way.
As a Professional Organizer, I help people make these decisions every day. If you are unsure what to do with something or feel stuck, contact me. I love getting people unstuck from their stuff!