How to Give Yourself Permission to Get Rid of Stuff
I wrapped up an organizing class last week and asked my attendees for feedback. One point that was mentioned by several of them was that I had given them permission to get rid of specific items they had been holding on to. It made me wonder why we keep so many things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, and how we can give ourselves permission to let go? If you are struggling to get rid of things that are no longer serving you, allow me to grant you permission to get rid of the following:
Things that you have owned (or your family has owned) for a long time - Just because something has been in your life for many years is not reason enough to keep it. We hang on to many things out of habit, but ask yourself if those old items in your home are still useful to you or if you still like them. Even things that have been passed down through the generations in your family are not necessary to keep unless they are meaningful to you.
Things you received as a gift - Maybe you have wedding gifts that have sat unused for years. Maybe you have every drawing and piece of art your children made for you when they were little. Maybe you have sweaters or kitchen appliances that were well-intentioned gifts but sit unused in the back of a closet. You do not have to keep these things! Just because something was given to you as a gift you are not obligated to hold on to it forever. Your only responsibility when receiving a gift is to show appreciation; once you have done that you get to decide if that thing has a place in your life (or not).
Things that used to be important - We all go through different seasons in life and our interests and priorities invariably change over the years. Once a season has passed you have permission to get rid of the things that no longer interest you. Collectibles, sports memorabilia, and supplies for hobbies that no longer resonate are simply taking up space in your home. Clear them out to make space for new interests and experiences.
Things that you inherited - When someone passes away all of their stuff becomes precious. Getting rid of their things may feel disrespectful to their memory. But remember that the memories you have of that person remain with you whether you keep their stuff or not. Most of the things they owned were not meaningful to them, they were just the functional stuff they needed for everyday living. Keep the few items that were well-loved or are tied to a special memory of the person, but give yourself permission to let go of the rest. Your loved one would not want you to be burdened with their things.
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