How do you cull items near and dear to you? Hold each object and decide whether it brings you joy
If you look around your house and see lots of clutter, it’s time to decide what you should keep and what should go. Researchers at Princeton University found that a cluttered environment restricts individuals’ ability to focus.
Yes, we know it’s not easy getting rid of your stuff. It might have sentimental value. Or you’re determined that you’ll eventually fit back into your favorite skinny pair of jeans. And –who knows? – you might just need that extra widget someday.
June Saruwatari, who wrote Behind the Clutter, says that relieving the clutter in your home also relieves the baggage you’re hanging onto from past careers, relationships and other unfinished business.
How to Clear the Clutter
Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, suggests that you hold each object in your hands for a second and decide whether it brings you joy. If it doesn’t, get rid of it.
Similarly, Saruwatari suggests asking yourself four questions: Do you honestly need this item? Do you love it? Does it have some sort of significance in your life? Does it serve a purpose?
Sort everything into three piles: the stuff you’re going to keep, the stuff you’re going to get rid of and the stuff you’re not sure about.
Put the items you’re not sure about in a box, and hide that box for a month. If a month goes by and you haven’t missed the item, get rid of it.
Let family members choose
You can decide whether to trash it, sell it or donate it. But first, consider whether any of your family members might appreciate having these items. Your kids might want grandmother’s china. Go ahead: invite everyone to take anything you’re willing to give away. If your kids aren’t grown yet, consider renting a storage unit to keep the items from cluttering up your house in the meantime. That goes for other items you’re not quite willing to give up yet.
You can also save space by digitizing items such as photo albums, old VHS tapes, or other things that have sentimental value.
What about items of value?
Some items might have monetary value. If it’s a large enough item, you might want to hire an appraiser to determine what the item is worth. There are even websites devoted to virtual appraisals. Send them photos of your items, and they’ll tell you what they are worth. For example, Value My Stuff charges $15 for one appraisal, $35 for three and $100 for ten; WorthPoint has a subscription-based model, starting at $20 a month.
Of course, you can also visit local antique shops and talk to the owners, or resort to Craigslist to sell unwanted pieces of furniture, technology and gadgets.
As for the items you aren’t sure about – once you weather those first 30 days and realize you don’t miss the items you’ve tossed out, it’s easier to get rid of additional items. Pretty soon you’ll realize you like having the extra space – and yes, you’ll be able to focus better without the clutter.
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