Get Rid of What you Don’t Need

by Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. on 10/03/2012

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How much stuff do you have?  If you’re like many DaVincis — creative people juggling many talents, projects and ideas — you are also juggling a lot of stuff pertaining to your many talents, projects and ideas.

You might not be a pack-rat.  Your living and working spaces may be free of clutter.  But look around and see what what excessive objects are occupying your space.  What are you holding onto that you don’t really need?

There is some kind of supernatural process by which stuff accumulates.  Personally, I’d rather collect interesting experiences than be weighed down by my belongings.  I sure don’t need everything I own and I bet the same is true for you.

For example:  are you holding on to supplies you might need ‘someday’…but haven’t touched in years?  Have you been lugging around books that really aren’t that important to you?  Does your closet hold items that don’t fit or don’t flatter or don’t get worn in your present life?  Are you hanging onto items others have given you that you don’t really need or want…but you feel guilty about getting rid of them?

My mother was a shopper.  Also a ‘collector’.  It was eye-opening indeed to clean out her house after she passed away.  When you are forced to go through all of someone else’s stuff, you realize that’s all it is:  stuff.  (If you haven’t seen the George Carlin ‘stuff’ comedy routine in a while, check it out.  There’s no better indictment of how chained we can become to our belongings).

Going through my mother’s possessions gave me  fresh eyes when I looked at my own things.  Even though I’m not a clutterer, I’m now better able to see what I have that I don’t need — and to get rid of it.   It became easy to winnow books, prune my closet and donate art supplies to others.

Doing so felt freeing and fabulous.  I was delighted to pass on objects others would use and appreciate.  I was tickled to clear space in my office and my home.

You can too.  If you choose to, you can let go of:

* things you don’t need

* things you don’t like

* things you aren’t using

* things that make you feel guilty or otherwise icky  (such as things that remind you of something unpleasant  — or gifts others have given you that you don’t really want)

* things you’re holding onto because they might be useful ‘someday’

* things that need repair — that you haven’t repaired for the past year or longer

* clothes that don’t fit or aren’t flattering or don’t get worn your current life

* things you want to give to someone ‘someday’.  (Why not give it to them now?)

Give yourself a gift by jettisoning your excess belongings. The less you hang onto, the more space and freedom you’ll have. And the more your space will reflect the current ‘you’.

Only keep:

* things you love

* things that make you feel good

* things you use

* things in good repair (or that you commit to repair within the next month)

* things that fit you well and look good on you

Activity:  Pick the easiest possible space to purge – a desk drawer, a cupboard, the bathroom, wherever.  Remove all the contents.  As you do so, get rid of what you don’t need.  Give it away, throw it away, sell it – do what makes sense to get it out of your space.  If in doubt, you don’t need it.

Activity:  Obtain three cardboard boxes.  Mark one ‘donate’, one ‘give’ and one ‘sell’. Put them beside a large garbage can.  Now:  walk around your space. Find at least ten items that belong in these receptacles.

Activity:  Make a list of the rooms or areas of your working and/or living space that you need to prune.  Repeat the preceding two activities until you’ve worked your way through your list.  Maybe you tackle one room a month or one drawer or cupboard per week — find a schedule that works for you so that you can go through your entire living space this year.  Jettison what you don’t need.

Activity:  Set up an ongoing system by which you will keep clutter at bay.  Some people have a one in – one out rule.  (If they buy something new, they get rid of something old).  Others make a regular practice of pruning their belongings throughout the year.  Another option is to schedule an annual spring cleaning/purge to go through their entire working and living space.


donecoverWant more tips and techniques for getting things done? Check out my book  YOU CAN GET IT DONE:  Choose What to do, Plan, Start, Stay on Track, Overcome Obstacles, and Finish

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lois Beamish Taylor October 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I have recently donated some project items after I heard the phrase, “inventory beyond life expectancy”. It felt very, very good….

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