Guest post from Leigh Ann Dutton
Stuff was taking over her house, and tired of digging through the mess looking for useful items, she called me. She asked if I would come stay a week with her and help her sort through the mess. Her cabinets stored decades of forgotten bowls, pitchers, and cozies. Wedding presents from more than thirty years ago occupied prime real estate in her cabinets – presents that reminded her of great Aunt Tessa. My mother-in-love needed help, and since I am a bit obsessive with de-cluttering, I was the woman to the rescue.
As we worked through her cabinets, drawers, and closets, there were three lies that emerged most often. Maybe you struggle with them, as well.
3 Lies We Believe About Our Stuff
1. It could be useful … later.
When you hang on to an item, because it might be useful later, you are ceasing to live in the present and placing unnecessary guilt on yourself.
Let me explain. Let’s say you have a pair of basketball shoes. You had a stellar jump shot in college, but you haven’t dribbled a ball in more than five years. Yet, you hang on to your basketball shoes because you might play again someday with your kids.
First of all, styles change. If you want to ball with your kids later, don’t embarrass them with your 1990’s style shoes. Get a new pair.
Second, the chances of you playing such a high intensity game that you need the ankle support of a basketball shoe is slim to none. Let’s be honest, we aren’t getting younger. We’re getting older. We’ll be doing good to jump half an inch off the ground when it comes time to play a little one-on-one with our boys. Let’s not make ourselves feel bad because we’ve hung on to these shoes for so long.
Maybe sports aren’t your style. Yet, I’m sure you can think of your own example. Maybe it’s jewelry you inherited from your grandmother, yoga mat, roller blades from high school, or hand crank ice cream maker. Don’t let the clutter of these items breed stress any longer. “It could be useful later” is a lie.
2. I keep that for the memory.
Let’s be honest. Will you really forget that memorable walk on the beach with your hubby two days after you said, “I do”, if you get rid of the matching t-shirts you had made? Probably not. That memory is etched forever in your mind. What about those really ugly tea cups your aunt gave you for your wedding thirty years ago? Will you forget your aunt, or the fact that she came to your wedding? Probably not.
You won’t lose the memory if you get rid of the clutter filling your home. If it’s particularly special to you, take a picture. Seriously. A picture in an album takes up far less space than the over-sized teddy bears, cozies from every wedding you ever attended, or the broken bread machine that your grandmother gave you. To keep something so you don’t lose the memory is a lie.
3. It would offend someone if I get rid of this.
I have a set of decorative canisters that were given to me as a wedding gift. They’ve been floating around my house finding their home in various places, but never really fitting in with my style of decorating. I’ve kept them because I thought maybe I could make them work, and the person who gave them to me was so excited about them. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings by getting rid of them.
Recently, we had company stay with us for a weekend. While lounging on the couch, my friend looked up at my canisters and asked, “So, who’s in there?” It took me about thirty seconds to figure out what she meant. Then, it dawned on me. She thought they were urns. Oh dear. That’s not exactly the idea I had when I placed them on top of the entertainment center. There is nothing wrong with urns and putting them on your mantle. However, if something is mistaken for an urn, something isn’t right.
These canisters did not work with my overall decorative style. It confused my friend, and who knows how many other people thought the same thing before a true friend stepped up and gently wounded me. 😉
My friends, it is your home. If someone gives you something you don’t particularly care for, you are not obligated to put it on display in your home. Donate it, or sell it, and let someone else love the item in their home. If I get rid of this, then great-aunt Tessa will be offended is a lie.
In her book, Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living, Tsh Oxenreider describes what clutter does to our homes beautifully:
“Clutter breeds stress, and if you let stuff take over this space, it’ll ward off people. People are what make a home what it is – a haven for your family.”
Maybe all you needed was for someone to say it’s okay to get rid of the items that don’t fit your family. That’s what my mother-in-love needed – someone to say, “It is your home. Get rid of it. Everything will be okay. I promise.” 🙂
What about you? Have you been believing some of these lies about your stuff?
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