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Did anyone used to watch the show “Hoarders”? The story-line involved people who could not let go of accumulated stuff and their houses were eventually overtaken by knick-knacks and other sentimental treasures. Experts would swoop in and try to convince the poor souls to let go of items to improve their living conditions. I’m not even sure it is still on, but let’s face it, we all have a bit of that sentimental hoarding-side that makes us clutter-happy. (Useful Tips for Decluttering Your Home and Gaining Perspective).
Why Is It So Hard to Let Go of Clutter?
The definition of a hoarder is “a person who hoards things.” (Google definitions) So true, it is easy to have obsessiveness with certain items. Mostly, we hold on to stuff that evokes emotion and conjures up memories and/or nostalgic feelings.
Nonetheless, fear is triggered when parting with our items. We have a fear of regret. We are anxious about forgetting our dearest memories. Of course, we do not want to let go of these wonderful items.
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Suggested Reading: How to do your Housework in 25 Minutes without Going Crazy
What Clutter Does
As I toured a young fives program for my son recently, the classroom stood out to me. It was free from loud colors and clutter. The toys were tan and organized. The walls and desks were clean. I felt at peace as I walked in the room. Notably, a calm feeling came over me. This is a testimonial to how our environment makes us feel.
A study from the January Issue of The Journal of Neuroscience from The Princeton Neuroscience Institute states, “Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.” In everyday terms, the more stuff and clutter you have in your home, the more stressed out and less productive you will be. As a result, it is more difficult to focus because clutter is competing for the brain’s attention. The science is there.
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Why We Hold On to Clutter – Are We Our Stuff?
According to a study in the Journal of Consumer psychology, we see our stuff as part of us. Meaning we link our identity to our belongings. Instead of it just being stuff, it IS you and me. Namely, we use this stuff to measure our self-worth. We live in a materialistic society and certain items of worth give us a higher social stature and are symbols of our accomplishments.
However, there comes a time in one’s life, when letting go is best. People hold on to items for many reasons. Maybe you feel you will use the item later or you paid good money for it so it has worth. Not to mention, there is a sadness that comes with letting go. Hence, it feels as though you are letting go of yourself when you get rid of a dress you wore in an earlier, thinner version of you or that baby blanket your little sweetie once used.
Baby items are a biggie for me. At times, I tear up going through baby clothes and why wouldn’t I? These items reminded me of a time my beautiful child was so small and precious and how things never stay the same. Yet, if I keep these items, my child would not be able to walk through his room. So as Queen Elsa would say, “Let it go, Let it go!” (Sorry, I had to go Disney on y’all)
Is Letting Go a good idea?
In today’s post, I’m going to give you some piece of mind and help you let go of items you once loved. There are many great reasons to let go of items you no longer use.
- Decluttering your home
- Creating a calm and peaceful environment
- Making room for new items
- Changing your mood
- Living a minimalist lifestyle
- Selling items to make money
Ideas to think about when you don’t want to let go clutter and need some convincing:
1. Someone Else Can Use It –
One of the best ways to release something is to ask, will it be useful to someone else. A friend of mine gave me a beautiful pair of shoes she could no longer wear after being pregnant. She said to me, “Just wear them.” Ladies, we all love our shoes, right! I’m sure my friend would have rather held on to her shoes, but they didn’t fit her anymore. She was happy with the fact that I would wear these super cute blue wedges. Your stuff will be given a new home to someone who needs and wants it.
2. Know that you will not miss it.
I have sold over 65+ items in my closet. Many were clothes I still loved but no longer fit. The biggest lesson I learned is that I do not miss any of the items I purged. Yet, I sold them on Poshmark and I got some great “love notes”. These are little notes from the buyer, rating their purchase. Now I can’t even remember half of the things I sold but I’m glad other people will put them to good use.
3. Take a picture in remembrance
If the item is something you know you will miss, like Grandma’s old quilt, take a picture to remember it. Then scrapbook your pictures.
If you have an item that is truly worth keeping, repurpose it. Maybe you have a piece of furniture that was handed down. There are so many DIY tutorials on the Internet or Pinterest. You can also hire someone to do it for you.
5. Invest the money
If you are selling items, take the money and invest it. You can gain interest on your money. You will have a clear space and more money in the bank. A win, win in my book.
6. Put the money toward a good cause
If you sell items, such as a wedding dress or piece of jewelry and gain a substantial amount of money, put it towards a good cause. Some phenomenal ideas would be:
- Donate to your favorite charity
- Put aside money for your kid’s college fund
- Build up your emergency fund
- Use the money for a down payment on a car or house
- take a well-earned vacation
How to Let Go of Stuff You Once Loved Conclusion:
In conclusion, think about the items that need to go. From a psychologically standpoint, it will be difficult. Yet, you will be at ease knowing you have done some good and helped build a more peaceful environment for yourself and your family. If you are selling items, this is a good time to start that college fund or emergency fund. You will see, time heals all wounds and you will not miss a thing!
Do you need to declutter? Are you holding on to items because of sentimental value? If so, leave me a comment. I would love to hear what you and/or your spouse are having a hard time getting rid of.
- Useful Tips for decluttering your Home and gaining perspective
- Budget Friendly Meal Planning
6 Comments on How to Let Go of Items You Once Loved
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Great article. I have cleaning up but am powerless to release my clutter, so I sometimes feel. But who is more important, me, or the clutter? Time to take myself back from my possessions 🙂
Thank you Natalie. I know what you mean. It is hard to let go! Good luck with your spring cleaning!
i have so much clutter in my house. i so need someone to come and help clean things up.
Thank you for the comment Katrina. I’m right there with you! Just take it step by step!
Okay, the house is decluttered but I can’t say the same for the garage and sheds. I picked up a habit from my dad many years ago remodeling homes and keeping items that can still be used or repurposed. I see value where others might see junk or clutter but I’m okay with that. At least the stuff isn’t lining my halls.
Thank you for the comment Richard! How awesome that you are able to repurpose! It makes our world a better place.