Lisa did a great presentation this past Friday on the subject of downsizing. She spoke to a large group brought together by Senior Advocate (a local Senior focused magazine). Rather than simply talking about the “how's” of moving from a larger residence to a smaller one, she spoke instead about why we tend to hold onto so much stuff. Before I go any further, I should stress that her presentation wasn't simply about getting rid of stuff. People are often scared off of organizing and downsizing because they think they're going to be forced to get rid of everything. I have three words in response to that concern …
Rather, by holding on to what you love and is useful and ridding yourself of clutter, you can get even more joy from them. They become more important, easier to see, find and use.
But I digress … as I often do. Back to Lisa's talk. She covered the five reasons people hold on to things they don't love or need. They're useful whether you're downsizing or just getting organized. For this post, I’ll start with one of them.
“It was a gift”
Gifts are given at a particular moment in time. They're given based on your likes, tastes and habits which, like all things, change. Sometimes, even though the giver meant well, they’re not aligned with your likes, tastes or habits. I doubt the giver ever expected you to keep the gift forever. Gifts are given with no strings attached, so it's up to you to do with it as you please. The giver never meant to tether you to this item for the rest of your life, they just wanted you to enjoy it, for however long that might be. When that's over, it's ok to move on.
So, why talk about the emotions behind why we keep stuff? Sometimes you have to understand why you're doing something so that you can change your thinking. By understanding the reasons why, you can then give yourself permission to do the right thing!