After we’ve gotten rid of all the meaningless stuff around the house, decluttering starts to get a little harder. We have to start thinking about the items that aren’t used, but we’ve kept because someone special gave it to us, or owned it or for whatever reason we felt guilt at the idea of letting it go.
It wouldn’t be so bad if we had one or two of these items, but for most of us in the United States, we have an abundance of these items. Some people rent storage units for thousands of dollar a year to keep all their relative’s items.
Some move into their parent’s homes after the parents have passed, and couldn’t stand the idea of letting anything go, so they have items from 2 households under one roof.
That’s a lot of stuff. A lot of burden.
It’s difficult to part with items that evoke strong emotions.
But we must remember: when we get rid of an item, we are not getting rid of the person or the memory.
For those who have passed on, of course we want to remember them! But if something is more of a burden than a blessing, is it really honoring to the person who is no longer with us?
I know my loved ones who aren’t here, wouldn’t want their stuff to be a burden to me.
They would want to be remembered in love, not in guilt.
Letting go of sentimental items is a lot of work and often emotionally draining. Allow time to process. Work through each item and evaluate:
- Do I love it? Does it makes me smile? Is it beautiful to look at?
- Do I use it? Collecting dust on a shelf doesn’t count.
- Does it bring me peace? Do I stress about the kids breaking it?!
To ease letting things go, journal the memories that come up when you see the item. Take a picture of it, write the stories that you think of. Keep the book of memories.
Don’t rely on the past to define you. Build your life around the present; Who you need to be building relationships with, what you were put on this earth to do.
What about the people that are still with us, but don’t understand why we would get rid of things?
I know this is difficult and many don’t understand and often take offense if we get rid of things that they gave us. If you have someone in your life that fits this category, this is how I have handled it:
- Invite them over or out to coffee/dinner to visit.
- Explain how I learned about the “living with less” philosophy and why it appeals to me.
- Let them know that I will be working at letting things go and freeing up time, space and energy.
- Let them know that I love them and don’t want to cause offense, because they’ve given quite a few special items to us over the years, but we simply have too much, so we’ll be letting some things go.
- It they mention particular items that they don’t want you to get rid of, but you know you will, offer it back to them.
Remember that in the end, they may still take offense. This is not your fault.
What we allow in our home and surround ourselves with, is our decision. It affects our family and our environment. It’s not healthy to be surrounded by items that give us any sort of negative feelings, so let those go and release the emotional clutter.
How about you? Are you struggling to get rid of something? Leave a comment below to continue this conversation.