Have you ever stopped to think about how much stuff you have? Done a full inventory of all the items you own and determined whether or not you have used them in the last week, month or year? Our houses, garages and closets are full of items that haven’t seen the light of day for years, yet many people find it hard to part with items they rarely use.
Why is it so hard to let things go? Often it feels as though there is more comfort in holding on, rather than letting go.
Yet like many feelings, there is an illusion of thought behind it. In the book Live More, Want Less Mary Carlomagno, shares that the underlying thought behind this feeling is “there isn’t enough and I don’t want to decide if this has to stay or go.”
We all suffer from different degrees of the feeling of lack. If I give this away, will there still be enough for me? What if I fall on hard times and need this? I know this, because I’ve also been there. Curiously, I actually wore one of those old sweaters I couldn’t part with because “I might fall upon hard times” a few weeks ago. I wore it around the house and to a Toastmasters meeting and ended the day making dinner in it, when my husband walked into the house and asked “where in the world did that come from?”
His reaction also had a stitch of—you look ridiculous and we are not that poor ;). This reaction wasn’t too far-fetched from what I had been feeling all day wearing it. It was ill fitted, looked like it was from a bad ’80’s school photo and made me feel like a bag lady holding on to her last thread.
It was time to let that sweater go. It wasn’t needed and I felt like crap wearing it. Meanwhile I have at least 20 other options for warm clothing to wear—so why force myself to wear something I dislike? Realistically, times will never get THAT tough that I need to wear a hideous sweater and/or use a quesadilla maker that serves the same function as my Panini maker (a whole other story—involving my panache for kitchen appliance hording).
The benefits of organizing and living clutter free are clear. It helps us see our lives for what they are without the distraction of things we don’t use. Therefore, allowing us to get very intentional about what we do value and how to use our resources in service to our truest values. If something new is going to enter your life, you need to make room for it.
If you feel the need to purge and know you would benefit from the LESS is MORE mantra, I challenge you to follow these steps next week and see how you feel afterwards.
- Take a break from spending, by buying only what you need (Food, Gas etc.). If you find an unnecessary item you would like to buy, put it on an Amazon Wish List and evaluate it in 30 days.
- Take inventory of your closet, turn all your hangers around–>then flip them when you wear the item. If an item has not been flipped in the last 60 days—time to let it go! (if you have some nostalgia attached to it—take a picture—to preserve it’s memory)
- Take inventory of your kitchen—Challenge yourself to use 10 existing food items (spices/flour/rice etc.) and/or small kitchen appliances, you haven’t used in the last month. Purge 3 things that you haven’t used.
- After you let go of some precious closet & kitchen items—look at what’s left—how does what’s left connect to your value system? Articulate 3-5 values you have and do some research about how to “live those values” in a more intentional way daily. Learning leads to living a life you LOVE.
What you own defines what you value and what you have room for in your life. You are surrounded by the decisions you have made and have the power to make decisions that serve your values in a more intentional way each day.
Challenge yourself to choose what you allow in and out each day—with the above steps or your own. As you become more mindful about your choices, you will begin to see a life you love more each day!