De-cluttering my house and creating margin depends upon my success in blocking out the excuses that run through my mind. Maybe you battle the same excuses. Here are some of my most common.
Excuse #1: I might need this sometime.
This is a big one for me. I hate to throw away something I might need later. And I know when I throw something away - I'll find a use for it tomorrow.
I try to ask myself "Is this the last of its kind?" If I find a genuine need for this item, will it be impossible to procure a replacement? And if it would not be worth buying a replacement, is it truly a need? Often I'm using this as an excuse just to store more stuff.
Excuse #2: I paid good money for this.
This is a tough one for a tight-wad like me. Whether the purchase was wise or not, if I spent money on it, I will force myself to live with that item.
Chuck the guilt and allow yourself the privilege of occasionally making a foolish spending decision. Don't add to the misery by making a second foolish decision of holding onto an unwanted item.
Last year I got rid of all the dresses in my closet that I disliked or didn't fit well. I love having only dresses that I enjoy. I don't miss the others at all.
Excuse #3: I used this___________.
This can be anything from "I wore this dress on my daughter on the first Sunday we went to church." "I wore this dress on our honeymoon." And so on. All the kinds of sentimental reasons to hold onto items that have long since outstayed their welcome.
It is fine to keep some items just for the memories, but make sure they are still blessing your life. It is impossible to store every item that is associated with a memory. Give yourself a limit such as a certain number of totes. When it is full, no more. Take a picture of the item if you really want to remember it, and give the item to someone who can use it.
Excuse #4: It was a gift.
This is a tough one. I never want to knowingly hurt a giver - even if it means holding onto an item I dislike. Relationships are more important.
But sometimes this can get a little ridiculous.
Like this fern.
My grandma grew many ferns in the corner of her living room. One day my grandma was dividing her ferns and gave me one. When she died a few years later, I treasured it as a memory of my grandma.
When I married, I hauled the fern to my new home. And it thrived, along with my many other houseplants. But then came children, three of them in about as many years, and in the choice of which living things to keep alive, the children won and the houseplants succumbed one by one. Eventually I was left with one houseplant - Grandma's fern.
And it has been trying to die ever since.
This fern has been banned to the basement windowsill where it is seen by nobody but me. And it is not making my laundry room more cheery. I look at it and feel guilt that I can't keep my grandma's fern alive.
My grandma died in 1996 - nearly twenty years ago. My fond memories of Grandma are not dependent upon keeping this fern alive.
So today, I'm stopping the excuses, kicking out the guilt, and adding the fern to the compost pile.
I know Grandma would approve.
Okay, so what about you. What excuses do you hear when you try to de-clutter your house? And what is your cure?