Tag Archives: discarding things

The Three Mental Tools That Help with Letting Things Go

When it comes to downsizing to move or downsizing to live comfortably in your present home, it can be tough to make decisions about what to keep and what to let go. Some people become accidental hoarders just from bringing things home from Senior Expos, all those goodie bags full of samples and helpful information. When it is time to make decisions about getting rid of stuff the brain fog creeps in.

Here are three mental toughness tools to use to strengthen your resolve.

  1. Your commitment scale
  2. Your mantra “no shame – no blame”
  3. Your new ability to think like a ghost

Here’s how it works…you come across an item you know you should get rid of, let’s say an aged unfinished craft project. The commitment scale is adopted from the pain scale you see in doctors’ offices. On a scale of 1 to 10 how committed are you to finishing this project? Let’s say its been in a closet for several years. If you think it is a “10” then you are very committed to finishing it and will start immediately. If it is a “1” then you’ll have no problem sending it on its way. It’s that gray area between 1 and 10 where the decision making is difficult.

 Perhaps the knowledge of how much you paid for it creates guilt for you at the thought of letting it go. This is where repeating “no shame- no blame” can lessen the trauma.  Even if it was very expensive, that money has already been spent. It doesn’t put the money back into your pocket to hang on to it. You are a different person now than you were then and your interests have changed.

If this isn’t enough, then imagine yourself to be a ghostly observer as your belongings are sorted and removed by family members or hired clean-out specialists. How will they view this item? What will they do with it? At this time the decision is yours. Deal with it.

Spring Cleaning – Clearing out Books

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soon to be filled with books for GoodWill

I have a lot of books to take to GoodWill. This is a big break-through for me. Books have a greater hold on me than any other physical stuff.

I am able to release all these books to future owners through GoodWill because I have seen the way they market them on Amazon.com. I have occasionally bought a used book from them that I had given up years ago but recently desired to own a copy. I think of my relationship with possessions as that of a conduit. Things can come into my life, stay awhile, and then leave.

That reminds me that, when I was very young, I thought people were saying “live-bury” and that could almost be the case in some homes where the books have taken over all the available space.

Refrigerator Hoarding

Today is a refrigerator triage day. Everything must come out and justify its existence to me or out it goes. This is the only area where I seem to manifest a hoarding behavior. I tend to see left-overs as a potential soup, quiche, or casserole ingredient and thus I have congestion in the fridge. I know a lot of people these days throw out leftovers, but I come from a time and a place where frugality was necessary. It is also the sign of a creative cook to know how to incorporate these ingredients into a delicious second life.

I have stuff in the fridge that I have kept for the same reasons other people keep non-food stuff. For instance, I have two quart jars of homemade pickles given by a friend who preserves garden produce.  I need that space and I know it would take my husband and me three years to use up those two quarts, so out they go. But maybe first I’ll save some of it in smaller jars. My thrift sense kicks in along with an appreciation of the friendship.

Another reason I have kept some of the items is I paid good money for them. I sometimes see an interesting recipe online and bookmark it, but I lack an ingredient or two so I add them to my shopping list and purchase them. The trouble is, my memory doesn’t retain the purpose of the product so I end up with mystery ingredients. I need a system to link food purchases with the recipe they are intended  for.