Written by Cassandra Merkling (last updated March 31, 2022)
Clutter seems to be everywhere in your home and/or office. It creeps into your car and you are afraid to look in the trunk. You are horrified at the mess you have on your hands, but somehow, you just can't release it. Does this sound like your life and surroundings? Do not worry, because I am going to give you a few ways to let go of this stuff that is weighing you down.
First of all, pay some attention to the kind of music you are listening to when you decide to de-clutter. Are you listening to love songs or are you listening to I-wanna-break-up songs, like "Please Release Me?" When it comes to clutter, every little thing you put in your head can either strengthen your resolve to be free of clutter, or make you more hesitant to act now before you collect any more of the chains that bind you down.
Now, get four boxes. Into the first box put everything that is truly junk...anything that does no one any good such as broken things you will never or can't fix now, or things that you have no doubt a thrift store would not take as a donation. In the second box put everything that is no longer improving your quality of life, but that can still be used to bless someone else's. This box will go to the aforementioned thrift store. Into the third box put things that are continually improving the quality of your life in some way. These things you will keep. Into the fourth box put anything that you can't bear to throw away because it has sentimental value but that you really do not want around.
Give this fourth box to a sibling with stronger de-cluttering skills than you. That way you can pretend that they are doing the job of loving it so you can think about other things. Remember, guilt does not come into this. You have no time to beat yourself up for wanting to throw away the macrame bell bottoms that your Aunt Sue made for your cat when you first got married.
If you really have a hard time letting go, take a picture of it and then release it into one of the boxes. You can put the photo into an album that is called, "Stuff I Almost Let Suffocate Me," or "Things I Used to Put Before the Sanity of My Family." Or, you can make up your own obnoxious name that will help you see it for what it is. Remember, you can't take any of this stuff with you when you die. Just look at the Pharaohs.
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Great tips! I'm guilty of keeping things for sentimental reasons, but thanks to my husband and his 5S attitude from work (if you don't use it, lose it), I'm slowly learning that stuff I thought I really needed to keep isn't really all that important - it's just clutter. I cleaned out my sewing room (aka "the clutter room") over the recent Christmas time off work... and FINALLY got up the nerve to throw away cards we received for our wedding - TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO!! I had them in a photo album all these years, but probably only looked at them twice in all that time. I pulled out two that meant a lot to me and finally heave-hoed the rest in the trash. It was liberating to know that I had control over whether or not I continued to keep that clutter in my house. When cleaning now, I try to ask myself if it's something I'm really going to use or need someday, or if it's just guilty feelings that are keeping me from getting rid of it. I also ask myself if I really need something before even buying it now too!