People have all kinds of stupid reasons to keep stuff. Last week I shared some of the things people say about why they hang on to stuff. There was a theme with all of those reasons that had to do with being prepared for some day in the future that never arrives. Here are some other stupid reasons for keeping stuff:
It has cash value.
Probably not as much as you think. It’s true that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure, but most of us think that all of our stuff is treasure, not junk. That’s why we attach a higher value to it than what someone else is likely to pay for it. Even if it is worth something, as long as it is in your attic or basement or garage, it actually doesn’t have value. Not until you sell it.
It has sentimental value.
It might. But how much value does it actually have? I challenge you to look at where you currently have this item. Is it stored in a box and it never sees the light of day? Is it stored in a way that protects it against deterioration? Most of the time “sentimental value” really means “I’m afraid if I get rid of this thing I’ll forget the memory it represents” or “Somehow I devalue the relationship with my mother or grandfather if I don’t keep this item”. If it really has sentimental value, then display it in a place of honor. If not, move it out. Trust your memories. Relationships are never comprised of things.
It was a gift.
If you love it and use it, then keep it. If not, the best gift you can give yourself is to move it along. There’s a lesson here for you as a gift-giver. How carefully do you choose gifts for your friends and family. Are they things that you know that person really wants or needs? Do you consider gifts that are not things? Most people have way too much stuff, so consider giving gifts that are experiences rather than things. They don’t end up stored in the back of somebody’s closet.
I don’t know what to do with it.
Start with the basics – give it away. Donate it to a charity. If it really is an item that has some use, there is quite likely someone who needs it more than you need to have it in your basement. Charitable organizations are often quite willing to come and pick stuff up at your house. Many cities also have some sort of “free cycle” website where you can list items you want to give away. You’d be amazed at the things other people are looking for. It’s that “one person’s junk” theory at its best. And sometimes what to do with it is simply throw it away.
There’s theme with all of these reasons too. Sometimes people hang on to stuff because of its perceived value. The problem with that is we attach value to things that actually far exceeds what they are really worth. Or we underestimate the value of our unused items for other people. When it comes to value, take some time to consider the cost of all this stuff in your life. Your clutter free life is worth more than you can imagine.
I’d love to hear more of your stupid reason for holding onto your stuff. Post a comment and share.