How Did We End Up With So. Much. Stuff?

If you are anything like me, you sometimes look at the stuff in your house and wonder - where did it all come from? I'm not much of a shopper, and I am a pretty conscious consumer, and yet if I'm not constantly vigilant the stuff just flows in. The trick is to learn to turn the tide, sending stuff out at least as quickly as it comes in. And this is where so many of us get stuck.

There are many reasons we hold on to the stuff that doesn't serve us. I'm going to list a few, in the hope that you recognize some of your own patterns here and can take steps to change them.

1. You just don't feel like dealing with it. One of the properties of clutter is its tendency to enervate us. It makes us feel heavy, and tired, and bored. It seems so hard to sort through it, to THINK about it all. The good news? It feels hard, but it's not. I suggest choosing a drawer or cupboard or shelf, setting a timer for 15 minutes, and just DOING it. It's amazing how much you can get done in a quick burst. Don't put it off - do it today. Then do it again tomorrow, and the next day. 15 minutes a day can really make a difference, and it builds a great lifelong habit.

2. You can't decide whether or not these things are necessary or useful. I make fun of my mother for the things she's held on to for 60 years, but I have trouble letting go of potentially useful things myself. So I haven't used the wok in 5 years - what if I find an amazing stir-fry recipe next week and wish I still had it? And address labels are always useful, right? We need to get into an abundance mindset. The things we need are in most cases replaceable. Or borrowable. Or substitutable. We hold on to things that we don't use out of a vague sense of preservation; insurance against future need. Which is fine if you're stockpiling water in case of earthquake, but not so helpful if you're storing tons of unused office supplies. You have all you need and more. You will continue to have all you need next week, next month, next year. Let go of the excess, it's not helping you.

3. You have the feels. You look at an item you don't really like, and remember that your neighbor gave it to you, or it was a wedding present, or it's been in the family for years. You are keeping things out of guilt and shame and obligation, rather than out of love. Not such great emotions to be raising every time you look around the house. But guess what? You are a grownup. You get to decide what to own. If you look at a possession and it brings up negative emotions THROW IT OUT. Life is hard enough without filling your home with things that make you feel bad. I promise that next year (or possibly next month) you will have difficulty remembering what you threw away today.

I know it's hard. I know it sometimes feels futile. But getting a handle on your stuff will make you feel SO MUCH BETTER. Still having trouble? Call me. I can help.