Why do people keep all of their 'stuff', and fill up their storage areas without thought of regular de-cluttering?
Here are some conversations we say to ourselves to justify keeping our 'stuff' - resulting in never letting go of unwanted items that we don't need or love.
a) because the storage is there to use and fill up.
b) I MUST keep ALL of my 'stuff' to avoid offending anyone who has ever given me anything, because deep down, I have created an unwritten law or belief that I have to keep them.
c) Because my 'stuff' has memories from specific events in my life, and my life needs to be measured by my 'stuff'.
d) If I give my 'stuff' away, how will I remember my important life milestones?
Keeping unwanted and unloved 'stuff' creates issues with storage, and soon your spaces and storage fill up. New 'stuff' that comes into your life every year has no 'home' to live - and clutter piles begin to grow.
Garages are the perfect example of spaces that fill up quickly, from my experience working with our customers. Often clients can't fit their cars into the garage because of their collections of unwanted, unloved and unused items taking up 'prime real estate' space. We find home spaces filled with items that should live in the garage but because the garage is overwhelmingly full, the overflow migrates to inside the home. Sound familiar? This is really common. The man of the house can be the culprit here. Often we work with female clients, and they will say, "its my husbands stuff in the garage and he won't let it go!" (See Before and After Images of actual clients garage).
Let's take a look at why this may transpire.
STUFF THAT COMES IN UNWILLINGLY
There are two specific events that happen in every year, when most people will collect 'stuff' without wanting it. Birthdays and Christmas. If you are a parent, add another day to each year when you'll get more 'stuff' (Mothers Day & Fathers Day).
Now, depending on your religion, there could be another one or two days a year where you will receive more 'stuff'. (Easter or other religious Celebrations).
If you plan to get married one year - add two to three more events that will bring in gifts (engagement party, pre-wedding party, wedding). Wedding Gift Registers are the best concept, so you can select what you need.
Then, after the wedding, and when 'a little person' is on the way, add two-four more days that you will receive gifts that year (baby shower, birth celebration gifts, naming days, christening day). Of course, these gifts are not unwanted, but they take up space, and you need space to store new items.
As the years roll on, and more children are born into the fold, the 'stuff' collected grows exponentially and you can now multiply the number of days you collect 'stuff', by the number of people in your family.
Take this quick quiz to see how many days each year you collect stuff.
For a family of four, that's eight days of collecting stuff for the whole family just with Christmas and Birthdays! So you can do the mathematics.
Just because you have loads of storage don't be encouraged to collect and keep all of your 'stuff'.
There are specific milestones or stages in our lives when we outgrow our spaces and 'stuff'.
Here are the optimum ages to de-clutter our spaces, to give us permission to let go of our 'stuff'.
What stuff do you have that has emotional memories?
What emotions arise from these items?
Do you have possessions inherited from parents, grandparents or other relatives that you feel guilty about letting go of?
Think about the emotions that come up when you think of any one item. Emotions are important to gage our reaction to an item. If you dislike the item, if it doesn't resonate with your soul, then you will feel a 'gut' feeling screaming out to you. This type of feeling means - LET IT GO!
If you have a feeling of warmth, love, and connection with an item, then this means to keep this item, but in saying this, we may love an item when it comes into our lives, but may outgrow it a few years down the track. Listen to your instincts when making decisions about each item. This process MUST be done when de-cluttering.
Here are some solutions to help you let go.
1. Of course small items that are important family heirlooms, or special to you, can be stored properly, in your Archive System (that Get Organised would create for you). Items like inherited jewellery, art, family history records, anything that is extra-special. You must put some guidelines in place to help you let go.
2. Take photographs of life event memorabilia, so you can look at these whenever you like. Create a special folder for your photo memories on your computer. Call it by your name or by the year of the event.
3. Letting go creates space for new 'stuff' to come in. This process is totally LIBERATING. You will FEEL the difference in your space because the energy shifts. You will feel lighter, happier, relieved! Keep this feeling in mind when you are finding it difficult to make a decision.
4. Make time to do this process every year. It may only take you 15 minutes to de-clutter your clothing shelves - to decide on what you're not wearing - items that don't suit any longer, that you've outgrown. Then it's done. Then you get the feeling of reward.
5. Get real about items in your garage that are awaiting repair or are no longer used that have been taking up space for many years. These include old furniture, old toys, old clothing in bags or boxes, magazines and newspapers.
6. The most important thing to remember is, when something new comes into your life - let go of something old, outdated, unwanted or unloved. This will help with the flow of stuff that comes into your home (or office).
Think about the reason why you are holding onto items and when you start the process of letting go, it becomes easier, and soon 'clarity' shines through. Energetically, de-cluttering brings positive energy so you will definitely feel the impact.
I will be interested to hear how many events you have each year that bring in new items, and how you deal with this (or not). Please leave your comments here...