Harboring an an excess of stuff can definitely be a downer. Clutter often effects people in ways they don’t realize. A cluttered environment can often deplete your energy, put a damper in your productivity, and in general, can bring on negative stress and unnecessary frustration.
The following is a suggested list of ten things you can get rid of today that will help create a little more space in your life.
- Trash. Empty your trash cans on a regular basis. Gather up trash that’s laying around and throw it out.
- Junk mail. Need I say more? Okay, I will. Get rid of your junk mail. Sale papers from stores you don’t shop at, credit card offers, and other junk that comes in the mail – get rid of it immediately to avoid a pileup.
- Items you no longer like. If you bought a shirt you once loved, but not it’s out of style, or you just don’t like it, there’s no reason to hold on to it. Ask a friend if they’d like it, or donate it. If you have a lot of items you no longer like, combine them with the things that fall into the next category and have a yard sale!
- Items you no longer need or that have become useless to you. Just like items you no longer like, if you bought something at one point because you needed it, but you know you really don’t need it any more, donate it, sell it, or if you know someone who (genuinely) needs it, you can ask if they’d like to have it.
- Outdated materials. Old store sales papers, catalogs, periodicals, event invitations, coupons – these are all perfect examples of irrelevant material than can become overwhelming if we let it pile up. Recycle it!
- Duplicates and excess “stuff”. I’ve walked into many situations with clients where we’ve come across 10 pairs of scissors, five staplers, and even a couple of irons. I’ve fallen victim to this myself – you don’t remember you have something, or you can’t find it, so you just buy another one. Well, not only is that a waste of money, but now you’re left with more stuff taking up space than is really needed. Pick the best pair or two of scissors and get rid of the rest. If you have way too many pens, just keep the ones that write the best. Only keep the stapler that doesn’t keep getting jammed.
- Free giveaways or tchotchkes. Just because it was free doesn’t mean you need to keep it. If you collect free stuff from festivals, meetings, conferences, or from people who just give you stuff in passing, you are in no way obligated to keep it. I must admit, there are some clever tchotchkes out there, but appreciate it, have your laugh, and let it go.
- Things that no longer work. If that toaster isn’t working – get rid of it. Toasters are inexpensive, you can get another one if you need to. I know an older woman, approaching her 90′s, who is of the mindset of getting things fixed. She recently paid $350 to get her TV repaired. First off, the repair man should have, in my opinion, told her that her TV wasn’t worth $350. He chose to take advantage of her instead. No one would buy that TV for $350 if you tried to sell it, and she could have purchased a much better (and lighter) television set for less money. When she moved in with her daughter a month later, she had to give the TV away. If your kid’s toy is broken, please get rid of it. Old broken cell phone? Donate or recycle it to an organization like CollectiveGood, please.
- Things you keep in your off-site storage unit. Why are you paying for storage? I suppose for some people out there, legitimate reasons exist. But if you rarely visit your storage unit, how important is the stuff you are keeping in there? I had a storage unit once. I was living in a studio apartment and maintaining a storage unit to the tune of $80/month. While I did go every once in a while to retrieve things, my mom pointed out that I could put that money toward a bigger place. That made sense. Did I get a bigger place? No, I just got rid of the stuff in storage because I realized it wasn’t important enough to want to move it all in with me.
- Items that have negative associations. I mentioned this in my 10 Minutes, 10 Days series. Keeping items that bring up negative emotions for you continue to stir those emotions whenever you encounter them. Free yourself from the negativity by letting go of these items.