All the wrong stuff

Why do we have all these things? Everywhere you look there’s stuff. Somehow we manage (mostly) to find places to store a multitudinous massive quantity of stuff. It’s in cupboards and closets and hiding under beds, in lockers, behind doors. We store things in attics and basements and garages and sheds and even cottages. But why?

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we accumulate, gather, collect, amass things?

You know what? Why doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. What matters is that you stop. Ultimately, you know you can’t take it with you, right? So, why not stop. Take a breather. Give yourself a bit of acquiring free time. Take a step back and think about what you really need. What do you want your life to be right now? The key to not collecting more stuff is to know what you honestly need in your life and go with that.

The first step to clearing out those unnecessary material possessions is breaking the cycle – know what you really need in your life right now and if you don’t need it, don’t bring it home with you. Question every purchase you make. I mean how many glittery evening bags does one woman need? Just sayin’.

When you’re feeling confident that you know what you need, note – need, not want, then you’re ready to tackle step two – learning to let go. Letting go is never easy. Be it, bad habits, relationships, or things. We humans create attachments, it’s just who we are, what we are made of. So, steady on, Girl, we’ve got some work to do.

There are some basic things you need to realize. Starting with – none of these things have any kind of magical power that will come back to bite you if you shun them. Truth. Also, “one day” is just not happening. Bridesmaid’s dress from your cousin’s wedding almost two decades ago? Not so much.

And now the biggie – no guilt. None. Nada. Guilt is our own doing. It’s a reaction we have to something we did, thought or felt. The trick is to turn the guilt into something positive. For example, the teapot Aunt Ida left you. You know she how much she loved it, but you don’t drink tea. So, think about Aunt Ida, what a delightful person she was and how much you loved her. Treasure that thought and nix the teapot. Happy memory and empty shelf space. Win-win!

Sentimental things can present a real challenge when it comes to clearing out. But you can always snap a photo or keep a sample or two of your kids’ grade school artwork. The bulk is gone, but not forgotten.

When you feel ready to let go of some stuff, start small. Ease yourself into this pilgrimage. Pick a single spot, maybe the hall closet or the kitchen junk drawer. This doesn’t have to been done in a day. Baby steps. Clearing out is a work-in-progress, but it will progress. Remember step one, where you stemmed the flow of objects coming in, right? Keep that up and you’ve got this one. I know you do.

So, what’s hiding under your bed with the dust bunnies? Or do you have a clutter clearing win to share? Tell us, please. We’d love to hear your story.

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  • This is a wonderful article Caroline! My husband and I are renovating our old farmhouse and it’s shocking how much “stuff” we’ve accumulated. We are in the process of purging which is bittersweet. It’s been lovely remembering where each item came from, hard to give it away, but freeing once completed. Things sometimes have a weight to them that gets lifted when the clutter is gone.

  • Under my bed, there’s a violin
    Snuggling close to a mandolin .
    And if they get bored,
    There’s a storage bin
    Of childhood books
    That’ll make them grin.

    And that is that,
    I find I’m done in.

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