Why People Hang Onto Things

There are many good reasons why people generally want to reduce the clutter in their lives. It can save time, money and space. It reduces allergens in the home. And, it can increase your focus and productivity while reducing anxiety and the feeling of being “scattered.”

For the last eight years, we have helped a lot of people “clear the clutter” both physically and mentally. In that time many excuses for holding onto items have come up time and time again. Here are a few of them along with tips on how to move past them.

I Might Need It Later
Some people are afraid to let go of items in case they might need it in the future. In reality, that is usually not the case. We generally use only 20 percent of the items we save, which means we are taking up valuable space with 80 percent of items we do not need.

To avoid this space-wasting mentality, get rid of one old item for every new item that comes in. And adjust your thinking from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance. It is a wonderful feeling.

It Cost a Lot of Money
While you may remember the high dollar amount you spent on an item, that dollar value is not the same as its true worth. If an item is never used or not liked, the cost is immaterial.

To get past this psychological hurdle, get money back for the item by selling it Online or at a consignment store, or donate it to charity to get the tax write off. Even if it is worth thousands of dollars, if it is collecting dust in the attic or closet, it is as if you have thrown it away.

It Means Something To Me
For many people, physical possessions become emotionally tied to events or people in our lives, making it hard to let them go. But remember that the object itself does not replace the memory or the person it represents to you. If you do not love the tea set from your dearly departed aunt, it does not mean you do not love her if you do not keep it. If you are not willing to put it out for display, it probably is not worth keeping. Or of you have too much that you feel is worthy to display, consider taking photos and keeping a memory book rather than the items themselves.

I’m Keeping It For My Kids
Although holding items for someone for a while may be a useful favor, your home is not a permanent storage unit for friends and family members. Grown children need to learn to manage their possessions in their own space.

To deal with this, make a proactive decision about what space you actually have available to store items for others. If you have more stuff than space, politely ask the owners to come get their items by a certain date and stick to that. Also, make sure you are keeping items your kids actually want one day. Just because you think it is special, does not mean they feel the same and that is okay.

I Don’t Have Time to Deal With It Now
Making the time to get organized and clean out clutter can seem overwhelming as much as you want to do it.

Understand that the time you spend getting organized will save you that time many times over in the future. Taking the time to do a thorough clean out (even a little at a time), creating sensible homes for the items you do want to keep and following “the-one-item-out-for-one-item-in” rule, means you will no longer waste time looking for items, having to clean up every time someone is coming over or having to do a big cleanup over and over again.

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