Sentimentality can be a powerful thing. It leads you to hold onto certain items, sometimes to your own detriment. These things can take up space, time, and cause stress when it comes time to clean up the house. People can grow attached to just about anything… clothing, collectibles, furniture, electronics, books, and on and on. So how can you learn to let go? And what’s the benefit?
When it comes to decluttering, you can ask yourself just a few questions for any given item. The answers should tell you whether or not the item is worth keeping.
- When was the last time I wore/used this item? If it has been over a year, then you probably don’t need it.
- What purpose does this item serve? Maybe it’s a piece of unused furniture in the basement, an old TV that is never turned on, a broken stereo, or a stack of newspapers that will never be read. If it is not serving any other purpose other than taking up space, then it can probably go.
- Would I miss this item if it were gone? Often times, these cluttered items are out of sight in the first place – stored in attics, garages, and closets. Consider that when you’re cleaning out the house. If you didn’t miss them already, then you probably won’t miss them when they’re gone.
- What sentimental value does this item hold? Things like gifts from loved ones or old family photographs can certainly be worth holding onto, but there are always other things that we may hold misplaced sentimentality. Any of the items in the previous examples could hold some sentimental value to someone for whatever reason, but do you need the item to hang on to the memory? Does it give you joy to see a stack of newspapers in your closet, or an old TV in the garage?
When your home is free of clutter, you mind is free to focus on other things. Maybe a new hobby, or maybe an old project that you’ve been ignoring. Having less things also simplifies your life. Maybe it’s having one less piece of clothing to make picking an outfit faster. Maybe it’s having less clutter in the living room so you can clean more easily.
Ask yourself these questions, throw out some junk, have a yard sale, donate some items, or just give them away. Just remember that it’s not wasteful to get rid of clutter… it can be liberating. Then you can better organize the stuff that you do keep.
Disclaimer: This article does not address the issue of hoarding. Hoarding is a serious problem that afflicts many people, and these simple attempts at decluttering are not represented as solutions to that. If you or someone you know is suffering due to hoarding, we recommend that you seek professional help.