Thursday, June 4, 2009

Letting Go of Things

I have been decluttering our house like a mad woman the past few weeks. We are getting ready for a yard sale on June 20th as well as doing the Dave Ramsey plan for our finances, so saving an emergency fund. Every little bit helps add to that. We are a single income family of 6 so we have to be smart with our money!

I listed a bunch of things on Craigslist last night and also posted them on my Facebook to see if anyone local I knew wanted them. A friend asked me how I was able to get rid of some items I had listed, specifically the cake topper, knife/serving set, and champagne glasses from our wedding. I told her that I have pictures and the memories and do I really need the stuff?

How much of the things in our home have emotional baggage? Are we keeping them because we use the item or because Aunt Marge gave it to us and we can't even begin to thing what she would do if we sold it? Do we walk by the item daily and feel fond memories or is it stored in a box in the garage?

I am guilty of having many things that I keep because of emotional baggage. I am starting to get to the point in the decluttering process where these things can start to go. The wedding stuff I had every intention of putting in a shadow box. 7 years later the stuff is still in the same boxes they were put in right after our wedding. They have been moved three times! If I even put it in a box I do not have the wall space to hang it. I do have stuff that I will probably never get rid of. A small box of keepsakes from my childhood. Every now and then I go through it and toss what I feel is no longer worth keeping. It has gone from a medium tote to a small tote over the years and will probably shrink again and again. I enjoy these items. Going through them with the kids or by myself brings back fuzzy, warm memories. Its hilarious to read the diary of a second grade me.

How I have been deciding to get rid of or keep items in my home is pretty simple. I ask myself a few questions:

1) Do I want to clean and take care of said item?
2) Do I want to pick up said item a million times if the kids get into it?
3) Does it serve a purpose and do I have anything else that does this job?
4) Do I have a place to put said item?
5) Am I keeping the item because I (or other member of household) like and use the item or because so and so bought it for us?

As I sort through things in our home I just run the questions through my head. Keepsakes are a bit different as their purpose is the memory they provide. I really do not want to display earlier mentioned 2nd grade diary. :) They do have a "home", though it is the garage. They are taken care of in a water tight tote.

So are you decluttering? What is your criteria for keeping things in your house?

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