One thing that stands in the way of getting rid of clutter is the perceived value of your stuff. The idea of parting with things that you could potentially get money for prevents you from simply giving them away. But selling things requires time and energy you don’t have, so your unused “valuables” just sit in the closet or basement, taking up space. How do you shift your thinking and allow yourself to part with those things without any reimbursement? Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Don’t overestimate the monetary value of your stuff – It’s very common to think your stuff is worth a lot, so giving it away feels like throwing money down the drain. But the difficult truth is your stuff is probably not worth as much as you think it is. Regardless of how much you paid for something or how collectable it once was, your items are only worth what other people will pay for them today. It is very easy to find out what your things are worth: go on a sale website like eBay and search for similar items. Be sure to look at the ones that have sold, not just the listed prices. You will likely be surprised at how little money others are getting for them, and that might be the push you need to just give them away.
2. Don’t overestimate the demand for your stuff – I see this often with clients who want to pass down items to their adult children (usually large pieces like furniture), but no one in the family wants to take it. This happens because we develop emotional attachments to the things we live with and no longer see them the way others do. Keep in mind, just because you loved an item at one time doesn’t mean anyone else feels the same. The best way to determine the demand for your stuff is to try to sell it or give it away. If no one wants it, accept that and feel good about donating it so it can go to someone in need.
3. Remember the value your stuff already provided – When we realize an item is no longer useful to us we think about how much we can possibly get for it. But we often forget the value it has already provided. If it’s something that you enjoyed at one time, think about how much you paid per use. For example, how many times did your family enjoy meals at that dining table? Divide what you paid for it by that number and you will likely find it was a worthy investment. Even for things that went mostly unused, you received some value from the enjoyment of buying them. Acknowledge what it has already provided, accept that it no longer serves you, and let it go.
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