Spring has almost rolled around, and although we’re not feeling the shift in the temperature just yet, there is an obvious, energetic pull to give our spaces a detox. If you’re anything like me, however, it can be tough to detach ourselves from certain sentimental things we’ve held onto for a while. Here are some takeaways we’ve discovered that may make the decluttering process a little easier.
Tackle the things that don’t create much attachment first
As you sift through items, you may realize that the clothes you no longer wear and books you no longer read may feel more readily disposable or donate-able. Keep at those before tackling the more sentimental things like gifts and mementos.
If it doesn’t make you happy, let it go
“Does this spark joy? If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it,” says Marie Kondo in “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Many items have outlived their usefulness and are around because we haven’t taken the time to ask ourselves this question. This is essentially the point. A lot of the things we keep simply take up space in our homes; do we really need all this stuff? “Minimalism,” a documentary, illustrates that the void we try to fill through overconsumption can’t be filled. By buying more “things” we get distracted from what truly fulfills our lives (like quality time spent with family and friends), making us unhappier as a result.
Turn off the music
Be mindful while you declutter–-it’s important to focus your attention on each specific item, suggests Kondo. When you pick it up, ask yourself, ‘Is there any real reason I need to hold onto this?’ or ‘What value does this add to my life?’ Be honest with yourself. If it has an emotional charge, bless it, thank it for serving its purpose and move on. Just because you’re parting with it doesn’t mean you didn’t make good use of it while it lasted or that you’re saying goodbye to a memory. You still have intangible memories, and those can’t be erased.
“Sometime means never”
We make excuses to hold onto things, telling ourselves we may use it eventually – but how often is ‘sometime’? Consider how many times you’ve actually re-read that book or made use of those shoes you said you’d wear five years ago. Chances are, if you haven’t made use of it by now, the odds are very low that you will in the future.
It’s a personal exercise
Though it may feel supportive to have a friend or family member offer to pitch in and help, decluttering is your process – and yours alone. Sometimes, a well-intentioned loved one may hold you back instead of moving the effort forward. This is a way for you to let go of the old to make way for the new. And no one knows what you want for your life better than you do.