Top 5 Reasons People Have A Hard Time Getting Rid of Stuff
Are you someone who has good intentions to purge things from your home yet find yourself avoiding it? Do things pile up around your house because you know it will cause confrontation with the people you live with? If stuff is coming into your home but nothing is going out then it is time to consider what’s standing in your way. Below are the top five reasons people struggle to get rid of stuff and some suggestions for overcoming each hurdle.
1. Someday Syndrome
Items that still have lots of life left in them, especially when it has a unique purpose or significant value, can be especially difficult to let go. For example, the computer monitor that still works fine but isn’t the latest and greatest version so it’s collecting dust in the corner of your office. Or those plastic ice trays that have been out of commission since you got your refrigerator with the automatic ice maker. If you “need them someday” you will likely be able to borrow them from a neighbor or family member or purchase them with ease. If it’s an item of value, consider selling it to help ease the pain of letting it go. Although it’s highly unlikely you’ll need to replace them, consider the earnings from the sale to be your replacement funds.
2. Sentimental Connection
Baby items (clothes, crib bedding, etc.) and kids school accomplishments are a common soft spot for parents because they represent a precious time in their lives. It’s like they capture a time that otherwise feels elusive in our memory. Trophies can do the same, they holding nostalgic feelings of pride and accomplishment that people are afraid will disappear when the item disappears from their home. Does holding onto stuff really rewind the precious days? No. If you aren’t honoring these memorabilia in a way that allows you to appreciate them frequently then consider photographing the item and making a memory book. It will take much less space and yet continue to trigger those precious memories from your past.
3. Gift Guilt
So many people think that if an item was gifted to them then it has a life sentence in their home. When in reality, as a gift giver you probably don’t have that expectation of your loved one. Yes, it’s nice to know that the gift you picked out for someone meant something to them but be careful not to confuse how much YOU mean to them with how long they hold onto that gift. People’s tastes change or they run out of room. If you are holding onto items only out of guilt, STOP! Let that item find a new home and look for another way to show your loved one how much they mean to you; call them to chat or invite them to meet you for lunch.
4. Not Mine
Couples and families tend to keep too much because one person might be ready to purge but the other isn’t as motivated. If you have thoughts like “It’s not mine so I don’t know if I can get rid of it” then you are facing a major obstacle that can delay getting organized for months, if not years. Yes, more can get accomplished when a team rallies together but every team needs a leader. If you are declaring yourself the team captain, go through the shared space collecting other people’s items that don’t belong there in a box labeled with their name and expiration date. Give them a deadline to decide what to keep and purge before it expires, aka leaves the house!
5. Incomplete Accomplishments
Some stuff lays around because people have the best of intentions to exercise or do one of their hobbies when life slows down. Then before you know it, that treadmill has transformed into a clothes rack and your supply of yarn and fabric have outgrown the drawer where they were once housed. This stuff can burry people in feelings of disappointment and guilt because the stuff is a constant reminder of incomplete accomplishments, which can be even more paralyzing. Life circumstances change fluidly and so should your collection of stuff. When these things aren’t being used for their intended purpose it is time to purge based on where you are now, not where you have been or where you hope to go.
Professional Organizer & Productivity Coach