10 Signs it is Time to “Let It Go”
Do you have a difficult time letting things go? Do you find yourself paralyzed by the “memories of the item”, or the fear of “what if I need it in the future?” There's a fine line between "having stuff" and having so much stuff, you can't utilize your home like you're supposed to. Do you have papers all over your table and your counters preventing you from preparing dinner or sitting down to enjoy dinner? Do you have a mountain of clothes (some still with tags on) that you've given up on trying to put inside your closet?
We are going to discuss ten signs that it is time to let some things go. Do you relate to any of them? Chances are you probably relate to at least one or two. What you need to do is be aware of them and start on your journey to reduce clutter one baby step at a time, one item at a time. Pick one of these areas to focus on, then pick another, pick one room to work on at a time.
1. You have a hard time parting with items even if you never use them or they're broken.
If you have not used an item in more than twelve months, this would be a good item to let go. Make it easier to let go by giving it to someone who will use it, rather than having it create clutter in your home. When our homes are cluttered it robs us of our peace. Every item you let go of brings more peace into your home!
If an item is broken it is not able to serve the function it was designed for, and is no longer of use to you. If you have had it for several weeks, and you still have not fixed it chances are you never will. Often times it can be just as economical to replace an item as to get it fixed. Check to see if it is economical to fix it, and ask yourself, “Am I going to get it fixed?” If you have been able to live without it you may not need it after all. Make a decision, then follow through with getting it fixed or getting rid of it.
2. You have many items around your house that don't have a permanent home.
Make a rule, “NO Homeless Items Here!” Everything should have a home or it should be let go. No excuses, you cannot organize clutter, and homelessness in your home leads to clutter and stress. Besides, when everything has a home you can easily find it or let others know where to find it. When things are homeless, they are more prone to getting lost or broken. What good are they to you then? You will be surprised how much nicer it is when everything has a home!
3. You tend to make piles of things to be dealt with at a future time, and those piles often linger for more than a few days.
Procrastination leads to chaos, and chaos leads to stress! Make it a point to deal with things NOW rather than later as a rule. Of course, there will be times where this is impossible. When this happens make an appointment on your calendar to deal with it within a few days. If you are trying to get rid of these piles then start with 10-15 minutes a day. Set aside this time to deal with a pile. Get rid of the piles one pile at a time. Do NOT create a new pile while sorting through the old pile. Find a home for everything in the pile during this time. If a pile is too big then do it in sections. It is okay to use a timer while you work on your piles.
4. There are areas in your home that must be cleared off before they can be used for their intended purpose.
If you cannot use an area of the house for its intended purpose, then it is time to declutter and let go of some things! If you have several of these areas, it is okay to tackle one area at a time. Set aside 15-30 minutes each day to work on the “Hot Spots” in your home. Have a bag or container in the area for trash, keep, and give away. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes before the time you allotted to work on the project. When the timer goes off stop. Take the trash to the trash can. Put the giveaway items in the car and take them wherever they need to go when you are out. Find a home for all the keep items. Do NOT put any of the keep items in another pile! Soon you will have your spaces back. Once they are cleaned off do not clutter with unnecessary stuff again. Only allow items that belong there.
5. You save things often because you are concerned about how you will feel if you need them in the future and don't have them.
There are a few items we do need for future use. First Aid Kits, and other emergency items for an emergency situation. Otherwise, don’t get an item unless you are going to use it now or within the next few months. When you need something, you can get it then. There is no point in letting something take up precious space when you have no idea when or if you will ever use it.
6. You often save things without a clear idea of how you will use them in the future.
If you have no idea how you will use something, then you do not need it! Let someone else get it who does need it. The peace of a non-cluttered house is worth it.
7. You still have items that you once bought intending to give them away as gifts.
Only buy something for a gift if you know when you will gift it and who the gift will be for. When you purchase the item write it down, put it on your phone calendar, or in an app noting who it is for, why, and when so you do not forget it. Put all your gifts in a designated place. Mark this information on them so you can find them easily when you need them. Now they will not be cluttering up the house.
8. You often buy multiples of the same item because you forget you have it.
Few things are as frustrating as spending money on an item you already have. A few things can help solve this problem. First, make sure everything has a home. When you are wondering whether or not you need this item you can quickly check. Did you know there are apps that can help you keep things organized? There is a great one for books called My Library where you can easily add your books, videos etcetera. You can even make notes when you loan it to someone, and what you thought of it! There are apps for gift giving and many other organization apps. You could also keep a spreadsheet of items that you purchase regularly. Check it before purchasing to make sure you don’t buy something you have enough of already. Put a dry erase board in the kitchen and have family members write items down as the empty them. Now, you have an easy to see grocery list created. When you are ready to go shopping take a picture and you have your list. These items will not only save you frustration but time and money as well.
9. You feel helpless when faced with a good deal, even if it's a deal on something you don't need.
When you see a “great deal” ask yourself these questions:
Will I use it? When, and How often?
Where will it go?
Who Is it for?
Are you positive that it will bless them and they will use it?
If you do not know the answers to these questions, then run! Do NOT get this item, because it is not a good deal if it becomes clutter. One other thing to consider is, does it fit in your budget? It is not a good deal if you cannot afford it! If you start to feel helpless or have anxiety think about how well you will feel without buyer’s remorse, without additional clutter, and with the extra money in the bank!
10. You take free things, like toiletries from hotels, that you never wind up using.
Just because it is “free” does not mean you should take it! Do you really need it? Where will you put it? Will it have a home, or will it create more clutter. If the answer is more clutter then leave it for someone else.
Take control over your home, take back your peace! You can turn these ideas into games and have the entire family help. Don’t forget, take baby steps and enjoy the process as you go. If you get stuck you can always sing “Let it Go” or “Please Release Me, Let me Go” 😊!
Resources for learning more: the book The Hoarder in You ($13), author Dr. Robin Zasio