My wife is very organized. And while she's never really been a collector, she's been an even greater inspiration to me over the past few years to really declutter my life and make me happier, more productive and less stressed along the way. How? Well, are you ready for some advice? Jump aboard...
Junk is junk. Yes, it may seem true and it may actually be true in some cases that
“one man's junk is another man's treasure” or “I may need that some day.” I'm here to tell you that, while you may need that “thing” some day, it's not likely and, if you really do, then you can re-buy it. So, if you have a “junk drawer” (and most of us do or did or grew up with one so we think that is just the way it has to be), it's time to let it go. Whatever is in there has probably been in there for 5-10 years, right? And you still haven't needed it. So toss it... or better yet toss the whole drawer's collection and use that drawer for something – anything – way more useful. Growing up it was the last drawer on the right before the refrigerator in my parent's kitchen and was always in similar locations in our kitchen with my wife till she said “no more.” I haven't missed a single item and neither will you. Toss it... you'll feel better when you repurpose that drawer for something far more productive... trust me.
You really can't take it with you. Collections are interesting to look at, but it's time to let it go. I had dozens of signed posters and collectible memorabilia from my favorite rock group. But most things were just taking up space in the garage waiting for what... I don't know. My wife challenged me and I did it... basically got rid of nearly everything I had collected over a 20 year period. I made a few hundred dollars selling some of it, made some fellow collector friends happy by gifting some of it to them, and actually threw the other 98% away. I realized that all I really wanted was the music – and I have that and continue to collect it free and space free digitally through acquired live recordings. That's the history and interest for me. And my garage is much emptier for it, I don't miss any of it, and I enjoy the few things I did keep and the hundreds of live recordings that take up zero space... daily. No regrets.
The one year rule. Have you used it, worn it, looked at it, played with it, or even touched it in the last year? If not, why is it still taking up space in your closet, garage or house? My closet was full of clothes I didn't wear but thought I might wear “sometime.” Here's some advice... if you haven't worn it by now, you never will. Worse, we sometimes keep clothes we hope to fit into better next year. Ha. If that happens and we lose the 10 pounds or 50 pounds, then we can reward ourselves. For now, reward yourself with the good sense to realize you'll probably never wear it or use it or touch it. Trust the one year rule... toss it or donate it. I did... and now I wear everything in my closet.
Why are you really hoarding it? Furniture, broken electronics you plan to fix. Hmmm.... do you really have the time? And with furniture... do you need it? If not, then give it away, sell it, or toss it. Surfaces have to be dusted. We sold an armoire and two night stands that were great, looked great, but we didn't need them and they were a dusting nightmare. Now our master bedroom looks and feels more spacious and dusting our house because we've shed those and other similar items is a breeze and takes only minutes daily to keep looking great and guest ready at all times. We missed the night stands for a couple of weeks... then we never looked back.
Don't worry, be happy. I have found that ridding my life and home of things around me that I was keeping for no real good reason has made me more relaxed and productive. I spend less time looking for things, I put things in their proper place rather than just “setting them somewhere” and I have more time because there is less to clean. I still put things where I shouldn't out of pure laziness, but I do it far less and my life, wife and marriage is happier because of it. Plus, I'm teaching my 6 small children much better habits because I'm living it, not just talking about it. Seriously, toss it or sell it or give it away. But if you don't need it daily or weekly or monthly, then do you really need it? Get rid of it. You won't regret it.
Summary / call for action
Decluttering and letting go is very hard for most of us and nearly impossible for some. I realize that. But I challenge you to toss something – one thing – from each room in your house tomorrow and see how it makes you feel. Lighter? Fresher? More productive? I've thrown out or donated hundreds of things in the past 2-3 years and only regretted a couple of items... and then that regret disappeared quickly. It's a good, freeing feeling.
Thoughts? Can you take the challenge? Have you decluttered yourself and you life? What tips would you add? And if you were thinking of doing this or feel stressed, then I hope this read has helped you. Ask me questions... I'm happy to help. Contact me for any advice or support you might need.