OK, I’ll admit it; I love getting rid of things. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in my office and suddenly had the urge to purge. I filled four bags with papers, notes and other things that weren’t serving my needs.
The reason I love getting rid of things is because of the space I discover. It’s not only physical space I discover but also space in my mind. I get energized and become more creative.
What I’ve learned through my work with my clients is that I’m not the only one who gets a rush when space is created but sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you can let go of.
When my clients and I talk about getting organized and decluttering the key question that we try to answer is: “What do I get by keeping the object i.e.: what’s the value?” versus “What does it cost me to keep it?”
Here is a list of seven things that generally cost more to keep then the value they give you in return.
- Things that you have printed off the internet that you’ve been meaning to read. They take up physical space and often weigh heavily on your mind because you haven’t read them. The really good news is that should you need any of this information in the future you can reprint it.
- Old, travel size, half used bottles of shampoos, lotions, soaps, cosmetics, etc., that you simply don’t use. These items take up valuable cabinet and counter space. It is true that some of the products may still be good and someone else could use them but unless you are using the products you are not getting any value from them and neither is anyone else. Give them away or throw them away and benefit from all of the found space.
- Clothing that you will wear again when you lose 10 pounds or are stained, don’t like or don’t wear. These clothes are preventing you from finding the things that fit you and look good on you. Another benefit of getting rid of these clothes is that when you lose 10 pounds you’ll get to buy something that you will really enjoy.
- A gift you received that you don’t like or will never use. Even if the person who gave it to you is special or the gift was expensive. What value is that gift giving you? Do you think that the person who gave it to you would want you to feel burdened by it?
- Something that you bought for yourself, even if it was expensive, that you simply no longer like, never use or won’t use again. What benefit are you getting from keeping it? How much space does it take up? How do you feel when you look at it?
- Tools or gadgets that work great for someone else but don’t work for you even if others swear by it. Just because it works for someone else does not mean it’s right for you.
- Knick knacks, souvenirs and other little things that you’ve collected over the years that remind you of a trip or experience. Do you smile when you look at it or does it get lost in a collection of stuff? Just because you don’t have the souvenir doesn’t mean you don’t have the memory.
As you go through your things, use these questions as a guide.
- What value or benefit does this give me?
- Is it costing me more then I am getting from it?
- Does someone else what me to have or use it?
- Is it something I keep meaning to use but never seem to?
- Is it costing me more then it is worth to me?
My suggestion to you is get these things out of your home, office and life quickly. I know it can be difficult to throw out “good” things, especially these days, so you might want to plan a big yard sale or find an organization or someone to donate the things you no longer value but please do it quickly.
Remember, unless you actually get rid of these things they are still costing you. Make the decision and act on it. You have a lot to gain.