“There’s not enough room in here for the both of us… so one of us has to go!”
I confess, I’m not the best at this. I love finding new toys for the Pickle, and bringing home an occasional treasure for my home. But I am NOT so great at getting rid of things that we don’t use anymore.
Part of my reasoning is valid- I’d like to have another child someday, so I don’t want to get rid of all of her stuff just yet. But aside from that, I’m just a memory hoarder.
This stuffed toy was given to her on her first birthday by her Aunt who lives in Atlanta. I just CAN’T get rid of it! This box of memories is all I have left from six years in Asia. I just CAN’T get rid of it! This food dehydrator would be great for stocking my pantry someday. And while I haven’t used it in two years, it is nice to have on hand just in case. I just CAN’T get rid of it!
You see where I’m going?
But every now and then I get motivated and I start to purge. And I can assure you, nothing feels better than taking bags full of stuff to your favorite thrift store knowing that your things are going to find new life and your house is going to find room to breathe! (not to mention you’re going to make room for any new items you may need- think dumpster treasures, birthday presents, functional purchases.) Here are some great, albeit unconventional, tips to help keep us motivated to purge… as often as possible!
SIMPLY PUT, REMEMBER HOW GOOD IT FEELS:
Making space in your life is like exercise. Like taking a deep breath. There are endorphins and adrenaline and a rush of accomplishment. It just feels good. Whereas living under the load of clutter is defeating. We all know this, but being disciplined enough to recreate that positive feeling on a regular basis is not as common as, say, going to the gym or even vacuuming. But Spring cleaning is not just for Spring. Imagine if every week you went through the closet or sorted the toys or rifled through your Tupperware. Imagine a weekly trip to the thrift store- to give, not to get. Imagine how good it would feel to create that space… then go do it!
HAVE A PLAN:
Have a plan. You won’t do it if you don’t have some direction. And let’s be honest, even ONE day of motivation and purging will result in a little less stuff than you had before! So don’t be discouraged if you don’t do it as often as you’d like. Be encouraged by each small step you make toward an uncluttered life.
I stumbled upon a unique 30-day challenge that I just might try. Each day of the month you get rid of the same number of items that corresponds with the day. So on the first of the month, you get rid of one thing. On the second, you get rid of two things. And so on. It could work! It could get easier each day.
Another proven method is to live by the “Get One, Give One” principle. Anytime you bring home a new item (toy, pillow, coffee mug, coloring book, etc) commit to getting rid of one item (or more!). This way, at least, your maintaining a static state of stuff…. instead of adding to it.
MAKE ROOM FOR MORE (MEMORIES):
Since my childhood, I have had a hard time letting go of things that bore meaning to me. Unfortunately, I have a rather active memory. I could tell you where every single item in my home came from- who gave it and on what occasion. The stuff itself didn’t matter so much, but the link to a person or event made each piece a treasure. And treasure can’t just be given away!
Thankfully I’ve learned through the years that not all memories need physical reminders. And frankly, sometimes you just need to make room for new memories. This holds true for your mind and your home. Sometimes I have to view a purge as a time to make room for new memories. That might mean getting rid of some “treasures” or cutting down on my “keepsakes.” I save one souvenir from Thailand instead of twelve, or I keep a small photo album of my trip to Europe instead of a whole box. And when my home can breathe, I can enjoy all my memories more… both old and new.
PURE, UNADULTERATED DISCIPLINE:
And then there are times where you just have to say “NO!” Living in a small house and being on a small budget, I cannot even begin to count the times I have really, really, really wanted something, but forced myself to walk away. Because while it might be nice. And the purchase might give me a rush. In the end, the knowledge that I didn’t really need it. I didn’t really have the money for it. And I didn’t really have the space would weigh more heavily on my soul than the joy it would bring. Sometimes you just have to say “No” to the new and say “Goodbye” to the old…
So you can say “Yes” and “Hello!” to the freedom of an uncluttered life!
Now, that is Living Large!
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