Purging excess possessions: 3 easy steps

Why would you want to purge your excess possessions? Let me count the ways…

No, actually I’m not going to enumerate them right now; it’s too depressing. I’ll just say that we Americans have a serious Possessions Problem, and it’s choking our ch’i.

So if you’re looking around your place feeling stuck, stagnant, stale and stupefied, consider purging. Here are the four most basic steps.

  1. Stop clutter at the front door. Prevention is always the best strategy! Only buy what you need and have a predestined place for. Stop going to garage sales. Throw out junk mail before it settles on the kitchen table. As catalogs arrive, call their 800 number and ask to be removed from their lists. Accept other people’s stuff only if you really need it. If you acquire a new piece of furniture, let go of a piece of furniture that someone else can use. Ditto with clothing. Recycle or compost early and often.
  2. Tackle small chunks at a time. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead by biting off manageable chunks. Set a timer for fifteen minutes and choose one drawer, one shelf or one category of clothing. Do this for fifteen minutes every day and you’ll see remarkable progress in no time.
  3. As you approach each item, ask yourself these questions:
    • Do I love it?
    • Do I need it?
    • Do I use it?
    • Does it enhance my life? (or does my heart sink when I see it?)

Then sort your things into 4 piles or boxes for dealing with. Mark the boxes Yes YES!; Yes, but…; No, but…; and No NO!

  • Yes yes! I love it and I need it, it works and it’s useful
  • Yes, but… I love, need, use it – but it needs fixing or is in the wrong location
  • No, but… Someone else should have it (Goodwill, relative, friend, Ebay)
  • No no! Toss it out (or recycle)

If you get stuck, enlist a dispassionate friend to help. Trade time. Or pay if you must. Their job is to keep you focused, to cheer you on, to help you realistically assess value (or lack therof), and to ask you the hard questions: “Do you honestly think you’ll be a size 8 again?” “Do you really believe your children will want that?”

You CAN do this. And you’ll feel sooooo much better. (I just finished de-cluttering my bedroom and home office and I feel like a new woman.)

Lather, rinse, repeat. (This is an ongoing process, not a state of perfection. Sorry)

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