Joshua Wold


The stuff we keep

Stuff complicates our lives. It can become a plague, increasing and demanding space, creeping into our closets, drawers, garages, basements and attics. The longer it’s there the harder it becomes to part with. As a result we buy larger houses or rent storage units. Moving becomes a nightmare.

Take action today. Start small. Pick an area such as a drawer or corner of a room. Have a trash can handy and don’t spend too long on any given item. Put everything into one of three piles: remove, keep, or wait. Items in the remove pile can be given to friends, Goodwill, or trashed. Put items in the wait pile into a container and seal it. Write an expiration date on the container and reevaluate after six months. You may find that you didn’t need or miss its contents. Then either keep them or get rid of them.

Letting go takes work. But don’t give up, keep attacking one small area at a time. Question whether you would replace something if it broke; if not then you probably don’t need it. Do you have clothes you never wear or haven’t worn in a year? Give them away. What about books that you haven’t read in years, or never? Loan them out to friends, or give them away. Have something that you’ll never use but keep because of its memories? Take a picture of it before throwing it away. The more you physically handle something the more it means to you, even if it has no real value.

Be radical, ignore the voice in your head that’s been trained to warn you that you might need that someday. The fear of what if can be overwhelming. Live in the present, not in the what ifs. For the one rare occasion where you might need something that you’ve gotten rid of there are thousands of occasions where you have too much. Eventually it will become easier to decide to part with things.

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