Because my family moved a lot, we learned quickly how to prioritize the items we could pack and carry to our new home. With no money to hire movers, we hauled everything—sofas, refrigerator, washer/dryer, clothing, books, beds, desktops and even a piano. Like exhausted Westward pioneers, we began to abandon what wasn’t absolutely necessary so our spent muscles wouldn’t have to exert unnecessary effort. How much did we need this? How much did we love that?
I got pretty good at getting rid of things. Our home was uncluttered, making cleaning fast and easy. Living simply liberated me in so many ways. Owning things burdens you. When I visit people, I found it interesting to observe what they choose to own, how much they hold onto, and how it affects the quality of their lives. The things you choose to keep and how you keep them reflects you.
The fewer things you keep, the more you can enjoy and cherish them. Go ahead and be courageous enough to free yourself from too many things.
Criteria for keeping things
1. will be used by the people in your home on a regular basis. Not *might* be used or *could* be used, but WILL be used regularly so it should not be stored away. (Seasonal items are an exception.)
2. is a family heirloom, handed down from ancestors and cherished by descendants.
3. is loved. To qualify for a loved item, you must hold great affection for this item above all other items.
Get rid of this item if it…
1. is broken and unworking (old clocks, chairs)
2. presents a danger to humans or animals (toys, medication0
3. is one of many duplicates (tools, bags, plastic ware)
4. will not be used (appliances, excess clothing)
5. represents unhappy memories (family belongings)
6. demands too much of your time to maintain (overwhelming collections)
7. is spoiled (rotting food, expired canned goods)
What to do with your extra items
If they are usable donate them to charity
If they are family heirlooms give them to family members who will cherish them
If they are valuable sell the on Ebay, Craigslist or other auction houses
If they hold memories for you snap digital pictures of them and hire someone to scrapbook them for you
If they are broken consider that you’re keeping your property safe by throwing them out
Remember that what you keep and the condition in which you keep them says a lot about your inner mental life. Take an honest assessment of your environment and clean it up. Using these criteria for keeping and getting rid of things should make it easier for you to clear out the unnecessary clutter from you life.