Originally Posted AUGUST 31, 2017 on retirementjourneys.com – declutter
Most of us save stuff – lots of stuff. We save because we think things have value – monetary or sentimental. We associate things with our identity which we have developed over the course of our lives. But there comes a time, often when we have to take responsibility to disposition a lifetime of stuff that our parents collected, when we ask ourselves “do we really need to hang on to so much stuff”? Should we declutter and how do we go about it?
That happened to me when my sisters and I had to get rid of an entire house worth of stuff that my mom had accumulated over decades. In her mind, some of her things had monetary value and others she kept to pass on to us. We discovered that she vastly overestimated the monetary value of things such as hummels, knickknacks, furniture, jewelry and clothes. She also miscalculated our desire to populate our homes with memorabilia that we had managed to live without for many, many years.
That experience turned me into an avid fan of decluttering.
Reasons to Declutter
- No one cares about my old report cards, notebooks, photos, trophies, projects, toys and personal possessions. Heck I don’t even care about them. Why pass the burden of how to get rid of all my stuff on to someone who has no use for them?
- The process of decluttering forces you to figure out what is important. It also gives you a chance to say good bye. For example, I recently came across a personal journal from the late 1980s. I read through it and found it to be depressing. So after briefly reliving those years (yuk), I decided that I didn’t want to go back there again. So I tossed it which felt great!
- Decluttering frees up space for other purposes such as displaying artwork or appreciating a particular living area.
- Getting rid of stuff can improve safety (such as eliminating trip hazards).
- It makes cleaning easier.
- You can make a few dollars. For example, we took old record albums to a store that sells them on the cheap. We made a few bucks and have not missed them one bit.
- Getting rid of paper is good for personal security and the environment.
- If you decide to move it will be easier and cheaper.
- You can help others by donating your unwanted stuff.
How to Declutter
Interested in decluttering? Here are a few ways to get started.
- Switch to paperless billing.
- Set up a box to collect documents for shredding.
- Donate unwanted books, clothes and other things.
- Select a month to be your decluttering month. I use December because it ties in nicely with donations. Then I get rid of as much stuff as I can.
- Identify two boxes in your closet and then challenge yourself to combine the contents into just one.
- I threw out every photo that did not have a person in it. Then I scanned those (with a person or persons in it) that I really want to keep before throwing the original out.