We spend the first half of our lives acquiring things, and the second half getting rid of them.
If your home is overflowing with stuff, you’re not alone. It’s all too easy to accumulate worldly goods. And while many of those things are probably lovely and full of emotional resonance, in the aggregate, they’re cluttering your life physically and energetically. It’s hard to move forward (let alone move) when your home resembles a well-packed self-storage unit.
There are all sorts of strategies to clearing out your possessions, ranging from doing it in one fell swoop to hiring a professional organizer to doing it in increments, like getting a big box and one by one, placing in it items you might be willing to part with. All of these approaches can work — once you’ve flipped the mental switch.
While that sounds simple, anyone who’s struggled with this understands the psychological and emotional challenges of throwing out, giving away or selling beloved possessions. (And simply reminding ourselves that we “can’t take it with us” doesn’t help.) These five stories, culled from Next Avenue’s archives, could help you take your first, or next step.
5 Approaches to Clearing Out the Clutter
1. Identifying too much stuff as a burden is not some modern concept. In the “Economy” chapter of his masterpiece, Walden, Thoreau observed, “I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of.”