Decluttering possessions is something I tend to do on an ongoing basis, and I do a lot of it right after the holidays. It’s the perfect time to declutter, of course, because with so many new items to put away, old ones have to go. This is so true when you have small children and they receive a barrage of new toys for Christmas!
This January I’ve done a lot of decluttering. Even though I’ve always done my usual decluttering, this year was different. For the past several years, my extra time has been taken up by health issues surrounding my kidney transplant and then finishing my bachelor’s degree. Not to mention the usual work and family stuff.
Now with those concerns and goals behind me—as well as my last child having graduated from high school– I’m able to focus on new objectives. Decluttering old possessions isn’t just about now having the time to do so, but is a natural process of leaving behind the old and moving on to the new. Some of the processes are easy, but a lot of it isn’t.
Once I make up my mind to do something there is a certain part of the goal that, for me, becomes easy because of the sheer fact that I’m now ready to do that something. I’m going to be naturally inclined to face any discomfort I might have to face. For that reason alone, it becomes easier to start getting rid of (donate or throw out) items that I know are not beneficial to my life. You know, the obvious things like clothes that don’t fit, old beauty products, chipped mugs, and knickknacks that have been in my cupboard for several years without use, etc.
After these items are cleared away I might hit some roadblocks. These will tend to revolve around items that require more thought or work to dispose of properly.
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Here are a few guidelines I use to help me get past decluttering roadblocks:
- Face Reality: I ask myself, “What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen if I get rid of this purse (or whatever) that I never use?” Might I have to buy a new one? I tell myself, “You can always buy a new one: It won’t be the end of the world.” It won’t be.
- Get Off The Fence: If I just can’t get off the fence about an item, I set it with the items to be given away and tell myself that I can always pull it out of that pile and put it away again if I really want to. That thought gives me comfort, but the fact that the item is not put back to its normal place makes it easier to discard later.
- Just Do It: Invariably, I’ll have a bunch of items that I want to save or give to someone in particular but I have to fix the item or handle some detail first. For example, I had two broken wind chimes sitting in a drawer for years. I finally took them out and glued the broken pieces back into place. I had a garden stake I tried to fix, but it didn’t work out. It was time to face the fact that it was irreparable and toss it. The point is, I had to quit procrastinating dealing with these tasks and just get them done.
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Sentimental items are by far the hardest items for me to part with. Especially if they involve my kids or my parents. Still, I never try to force myself to get rid of items that hold a lot of sentiment or emotional attachment. Usually, in due time, attachment that needs releasing is released. I can get rid of what I need to, and I save what is truly meaningful.
Do you have any decluttering tips? Please share them in the comments section.
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Lisa is a mother of three lovely young women and is a new grandmother to a baby boy! She has been married to her high school sweetheart for more than thirty years. Lisa is originally from Dearborn Heights, Michigan, but has lived in the Tampa Bay area since 1984. Running a small business for over 25 years and raising a family has made for a busy, busy life with many ups and downs; it’s definitely been an adventure.
Lisa’s always involved in one project or another whether it’s work related or serving her community. She also recently went back to school to finish her bachelor’s degree in American Studies. Lisa tries to make every day a good day—that means learning something new, practicing kindness, and enjoying the present moment.