Many of us find it difficult to part with possessions from a previous chapter of our lives, resulting in a home, garage, or storage area filled with outdated belongings. However, do these items truly merit occupying so much valuable space now? Why do we cling to things that no longer serve a purpose? How can we learn to identify and take action when our priorities and interests shift? And what are the consequences of failing to do so?
There are many reasons why we hang on to belongings. We think we may, at some future time, rekindle a past interest and will need those particular items again. On a deeper level, some of our possessions may represent an especially joyful phase of our lives that we fear we may not experience again. Perhaps we made a significant investment for something that we don’t think we will purchase again if we, or a family member needs it. Some items have historical significance to our family, and we feel guilty at the thought of parting with them. Whatever the reason, the surplus of possessions often prevents us from moving forward in our lives and developing new interests.. How often have you heard friends and family say that they really need to sort, organize or get rid of their stuff? It has become a constant refrain for many people and their families.
If you are contemplating moving in the next few years, be sure to read Envision Your Next Home. Once you reimagine your home and how you would like to live in each space, it’s time to take time to evaluate the remaining items and identify the reason you are hanging on to them. Hopefully, this will give you clarity and you can begin the process of editing your belongings to support your updated vision.
5 tips to help you edit your belongings to support your updated vision:
- Identifying excess supplies FIRST. Supplies are replaceable items that you are no longer using and are the easiest to let go of. If you have extra supplies or tools from a long-ago hobby or career, these can be distributed to local charities, vocational non-profits, donation sites, etc. This is an easy task for family and friends to help with.
- Be realistic about excess furniture. Are you holding on to your extra furniture, hoping your children will one day want to use it? Think carefully about whether it might not be more enjoyable to help them hunt for furniture bargains that suit their lifestyle when the time comes, rather than using valuable space to store your cast-offs that they might not even want.
- Curate Your Memorabilia. Many of us fall into the role of family archivist, collecting an ever-expanding collection of family memorabilia that eventually becomes a burden. Sometimes pre-determining a finite amount of space you are willing to give to memorabilia helps to keep things in check. Memorabilia decisions often need to be revisited periodically as layers accumulate and space or interest wanes. Here are questions to ask yourself when you are making decisions about memorabilia:
Is this still meaningful for me?
Is this someone else’s memory? Am I willing to store this item?
Is there a way to keep the memory and discard the physical items?
Why am I keeping it? What would happen if I let it go?
- Be patient and kind to yourself. It has taken you decades to accumulate your possessions. It makes sense that it will take time to shed them. You may not be able to find the perfect home for everything you are letting go of. Do the best you can, and keep going.
- Get help when you need it. Getting help with a difficult project often makes the difference between getting it accomplished, or having it linger on your ‘to do” list for months or even years. Seek help from family and friends, or professionals, like The Move Makers. You will be amazed at how much faster you can move forward with a little expert guidance.
Remember that there is no right or wrong answer about keeping or discarding your possessions. As long as you are clear on why you are keeping them, and make peace with the amount of space they occupy in your home, all is well.