Clutter: Why We Hold On

Peggy Walker Barnes

“Simply Living” with Peggy Walker Barnes

Let me start this whole discussion with this statement: this is a complex issue with a lot more psychology behind than most people realize. There are very few cut and dry answers in this world and this is certainly true when it comes to the subject of clutter.

Fear is the main reason we hold on to things. Fear of letting go, fear of offending someone, fear of being without, and fear of change.

Based on those fears, here are a few of the reasons we say we can’t let go:

I can’t get rid of that…I paid good money for it.

You might have paid good money for it, but it doesn’t mean it was a good purchase or that it hasn’t served its purpose in your life. Most things, like cars, depreciate in monetary value as soon as you bring it home.

I can’t get rid of that…I might need it one day.

You might need it someday however, everything has a cost and right now too many things are costing you peace of mind. How much do you really need to keep…just in case?

I can’t rid of that…my friend, sister, mother, grandmother, late aunt, father, gave it to me. They will be mad or I am not honoring their memory if I get rid of it.

The person is not in the object. Keeping a few things to represent that person is not a bad idea, but keeping everything is not necessary…” keep one to represent the many.”  A true gift giver would not want you to be burdened by a gift. Wouldn’t you feel the same way about a gift you’ve given?

I want to get rid of it, but I don’t know the right person or charity.

Many times we hold on to things, wanting the perfect time, the perfect place or the perfect person to give the item away to, therefore, nothing ever gets donated.  Sometimes you have to have faith that just the act of giving will allow that item to end up in the right place, at the right time, with the right person.

I can’t get rid of it; it is valuable or will be valuable…one day.

This is probably one of the most difficult conversations I have with clients…the value of items. The bottom line is “the value of something is what someone is willing to pay for it”. If you are not sure how much value your item has, find out. Don’t hold onto something unless you have a real knowledge of its value. As I say all the time, “with the exception of people, just because something is old does not mean it has value….it might just be old.”

Those are the main reasons we hold on to our stuff. Getting rid of excess frees up so much space, in your home, in your life, and in your mind. Freedom is around the corner, if you will just let go.

By Contributing Author: Peggy Walker Barnes, Keep It Simple Girl

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