8 Ways to Let Go of Your Stuff

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8 Ways to Let Go of Your Stuff


  1. Tear down the museum. In my youth, I forged strong friendships and created a history for myself that seemed worth remembering. So I held on to every trinket from my past but in doing so, I didn’t have any room for the present. I wanted to throw parties and have friends to visit in a home where they could actually sit down. So I photographed those hold things, then cleared them out to make space for the next chapters of my life.
  2. Assess true value. A hefty chuck of what I moved into our home was obsolete computer equipment. When I looked at it, I saw dollar signs. Then my economist friend, Stephen, reminded me of the fallacy of sunk costs. I was sizing up those old computers based on what I had spent rather than their present value: close to zero. I sold the lot to a used-electronics store for $60 (not bad, considering) and got a much needed haircut with the cash.
  3. Know thyself. I liked to think of myself as someone who exercised every day by running on a giant motorized treadmill, read all the literary classics, and baked cookies for every special occasion. The reality? I am not a runner, I like to read pop fiction, and cookies aren’t really my thing. The treadmill, the boxes of books, and some kitchen gadgets all found new homes.
  4. Trust me: You won’t fix it. Many of us store t broken things, convinced we would someday have them repaired. Two key questions to ask: “If you saw these items in a store today, would you buy them and how much would you pay?” Often this leads to the realization that broken items are not worth fixing.
  5. Do look a gift horse in the mouth. I had hoarded many unattractive presents because I thought that was the decent thing to do. I also wasn’t sure what I would say if someone noticed his gift missing and asked why. Well, you know what? No one has.
  6. Just admit that you don’t like it. As I sorted through my stuff, I became aware of the fact that I didn’t even want some of it. There were things I didn’t exactly like but didn’t exactly hate―and so lived with them out of pure apathy. This was the easiest clutter to set free.
  7. Let go of the guilt. When my grandparents passed away, I inherited a collection of 27 rusty knives and a warped cookie sheet. I kept all these items for more than a decade. Eventually I realized that if my grandparents were alive, they would have replaced the cookie sheet and knife set (and been mortified that my aunts had passed on such dangerous accoutrements).
  8. Face it: “One day” almost never comes. I justified keeping half my wardrobe on the basis that I would use it one day. I hate throwing out potentially useful things. But, finally getting rid of it gave me much needed space for the things that fit and that I like to wear.

Written by reformed hoarder Erin Rooney Doland.

 

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