Tag Archives: let go

Take Its Picture and Let It Go!

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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!

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Filed under children, Decluttering, Memorabilia, Storage, Strategies

AAckk! I don’t want to get rid of ANYTHING!!

How many black shoes are “enough” for one woman?

You are not alone if you’ve ever had trouble letting go of extra stuff in your life…if there is a critical  mass of it.  When you evaluate things individually, everything seems like it has value.  BUT, when you put it in the context of like items, it’s importance can change.

For example, if you’ve ever picked up a pair of black shoes off your closet floor and thought, “Wow, these are good to have!  They’re practical.”  But would you feel the same way about that pair of black shoes if there were 5 similar ones arrayed out on the floor?

The first step to lightening your load is to gather “like” items together.  Sorting items by type helps you see exactly what you have.  Grouping things lets you make contextual choices…making it easier to pick out what is the MOST relevant or the best items and to let the rest go.

Next time you have that  feeling that everything is precious or useful, pick just one type of item to purge.  For example, those black shoes…gather all the black shoes you own from your closets, your car, under the bed or anywhere else. Take a look at all of them and give yourself a reality check about which ones are really worth keeping.  If you’re still feeling stuck, make three piles – yes, no and maybe.  That way, at least you’ve made a conscious choice about most of them.

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Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies