Why should we get rid of all that extra stuff stored in the attic or crawlspace? Who cares if I have all this stuff? It’s mine and I have the right to keep it. It doesn’t affect anyone except me. Besides, some of this stuff is worth money. I’ll sell it at the right time and make out big.
Do these sound familiar? If you’ve tried to convince someone to get rid of some of their extra junk, then you’ve probably heard one or two of these. Maybe you’ve said or thought some of these yourself.
The truth is, at some point someone will have to deal with your pile of stuff - whether it’s you, your spouse, your kids or your grand kids.
Why not save everyone else the trouble and take care of it yourself? That way you have control over what happens to it. If, for example, you really want your spoon collection to go to your favorite niece then why not give it to her sooner than later so you can see the joy it brings her. If you think that coin collection or antique vase is worth so much money then sell it and do something fun with the money.
You might think that so far this post applies only to “older folks” but that’s not entirely the case. I guess some of the suggestions do. If you’re truly enjoying that spoon collection and aren’t ready to give it up, then by all means let it continue to hang on the wall where you can see it every day. I’m more concerned with all that stuff preventing you from parking a car in your garage or what’s in that storage unit you’re spending money on.
Back to the list of excuses in the first paragraph though, let’s talk about the belief that clutter only affects the person holding on to it.
How much time to do you spend moving piles of stuff around - sorting, organizing and reorganizing it - when you could be doing something else like playing catch with your kids or hanging out with an old friend. I know that when my wife and I recently spent time picking through the contents of the cedar chest on a Saturday afternoon, both of us would have rather been playing monopoly with our kids. I’m looking forward to having less stuff just so I don’t have to spend time handling it or constantly feeling like I should be doing something with it. I think that all that stuff takes our time and attention from others so, yes, it does affect more people than just you.
Here’s another reason. Safety.
That pile of junk in the basement, garage, or attic is nothing but kindling if a fire starts there. In the case of my kids’ room, I have no idea how any of them make it from the bed to the door on a daily basis without tripping over something. I can picture myself at the doctor’s office with one of the kids sporting a big black eye and a cut across the forehead and then telling them “he tripped”. I would have to produce photos of their bedroom to keep myself out of trouble.
I hope you found at least a little motivation here to get rid of something if not for yourself then for those around you. Start somewhere. Start small. Work slowly. But I bet that it will feel pretty good.
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Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2020
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