I hear this a lot from clients. It’s hard to donate or sell things that we paid a lot for. But is it really worth that much now? It may be very valuable to you and hold some sentimental value, but the real value is most likely not as much as we think. I don’t force anyone to get rid of anything but sometimes it’s clear that the “abundance of stuff” is causing stress. Ask yourself these questions to determine whether you should keep or pass on certain things.
If I keep it, does it have a home?
Is the space it takes up worth it?
Do I love and honor this item?
Is it easily replaceable?
Will a new product be more efficient?
Do I know the true value of the item? Will it go up or down in value?
What’s the worst thing that can happen if I get rid of it?
Have I used/worn/viewed this within the last year?
Does it hold some special family sentimental value?
If I’m saving this to pass down to future generations, will they honor it? Or will they just be guilted into accepting it?
Options for creating more space by removing things things that no longer fit into your life include selling on Ebay, Craig’s List, local online and newspaper classifieds, garage sales, consignment stores, or simply donate and use as a tax deduction. Remember that other people will get more satisfaction from the items than you will.
I had another topic planned for the blog post this week but a conversation I had with girlfriends yesterday inspired a change. I had lunch with three girlfriends yesterday. It was a typical “girls lunch” with lots of talking about our kids, summer plans, what we’ve been doing since we last saw each other. One of the ladies said that she recently re-carpeted her home. As the conversation flowed, she stated that it was a good opportunity to get rid of some of her things that she and family members had accumulated. She had cleared stuff out all of the closets and under furniture in all the rooms that were getting new carpet. One of the things she decided to get rid of was her wedding dress. Wow! She didn’t seem to agonize over this decision at all. It had been stored under a bed for some time. One friend told her to not get rid of the dress - that she would be sorry. Another friend agreed that she should not part with the dress. I was the last to comment. What to do? What do to??? I still have my wedding dress but it was also my mother’s wedding dress so lots of sentimentality in that one garment. I was making an excuse really. The truth of the matter is that it‘s stuffed in a storage bag in my closet and it takes up space. I tell myself that I should donate it but I can’ t bring myself to do it. I tell myself that MAYBE one of my sons will want have my dress made into a Baptismal gown for one of their children. What would my mom say is she knew that I no longer had the dress? And I’m a Professional organizer??? The guilt and the potential regret is very real. So... I hang on to it. This is exactly what my clients go through when making decisions to keep or donate their things. I understand that it can be very emotional. As an organizer, I tell my clients that if they are not honoring their possessions they should pass them on. As a human being, I realize how hard it is to part with some of our belongings. The wedding dress conversation caught me off-guard. Usually, it’s very easy for me to decide “to keep” or “not to keep” but this particular item is tough. For now, I’ll keep my wedding dress. The space it takes in my closet is worth it, and, who knows - maybe some day it will be re-purposed into a Baptismal gown.