Books, CDs, toys, clothes, office supplies…how do you decide how much is enough?
Facing the challenge of purging any collection can be daunting. How can you bear to let go of things you still like or are still useful – even when they make your home feel cluttered?
If you’re having trouble setting boundaries around certain types of items one tactic we find useful is “Container As Arbitrary Limiter”. The idea here is to make a firm decision about where a collection is going to live and use that defined space to set the boundary on how much to keep.
Let’s take books as an example. Many people love their books and hate parting with them. Clearly, books live best standing up on shelves. So the available bookshelves in the house can be the “container” in this case. When the number of books owned overflows the available shelf space, a decision has to be made either to add more shelving, or get rid of some books! Which choice you make is up to you – it’s your home and you get to decide how much wall space is dedicated to storing books.
Do you have lots of great books that won’t fit on the shelves? Probably! But limiting the collection to ONLY what will comfortably fit on your shelves is an arbitrary way to set a boundary for yourself.
Setting a clear boundary that your book collection has to fit in the available space helps clarify why you are purging.
- Making conscious choices around limits is important if you want less clutter in your home.
- Having a clear limit helps objectify the purging process a little.
- Honoring those limits is a way of respecting your values and goals around how you want to live in your home.
If the collection starts to expand outside the boundaries of the shelves and you find there are books on the floor, coffee table, wedged into every available gap – that is a sign that you either need to re-assess the collection or redefined the limits.
If it’s difficult to determine when your collection is maxed out, a container provides objective feedback, letting you know how much is too much.
Read our related post: Aack! I can’t get rid of anything!