We all know we hang onto more things than we really use, like, and need. According to a Nielsen survey, we have an average of at least 50 unused items in our homes, including clothing, electronic devices and toys.
But letting go of items with sentimental value can be the hardest! Guilt, memories, all kinds of emotional attachments often get in the way of clearing out the excess. Experience and research shows that one of the most effective ways of helping folks feel more willing to let go is taking a photo of an item.
One of the reason we keep things is that they trigger good memories. What we really are afraid of losing by letting go of a precious item is the memories or feelings it generates. A photograph can be just as an effective trigger of that good memory as the object. It’s may not be as rich an experience as holding an object but often can be good enough.
A study done with college students moving out showed that when they took pictures of items, they were 35% more likely to let go them for donation than if they didn’t. That’s a big shift!
Here are examples of items to consider photographing instead of keeping:
- 3D art and school projects from your kids – think dioramas, science fair projects, ceramic objects
- Sport trophies
- Thank-you plaques and certificates of achievement or participation
- Baby clothes and objects
- Family china or furniture
Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work so well for things we hang onto for reasons other than sentimentality. Keeping things out of a sense of frugality or necessity is a different issue altogether!
So, take a picture of that object that is taking up precious space and let it go!