I love stuff. All kinds of stuff. But mostly stuff that reminds me of something or has a special meaning. And tons of other stuff that is really junk. It’s important not to surround yourself with stuff just for stuff’s sake. I’ve been getting better about getting rid of stuff I really don’t need (how many plastic food storage things that you can’t find the lid to do you REALLY need?). Unless you love it or it serves an important purpose, get rid of it!
When you go to a conference, do you pick up the stuff from every single vendor table? Do you really need it? If not, don’t pick it up. If you do need it and will actually use it, then take it. If you find that you don’t use it, get rid of it. Still visit the vendors–they are a very important part of every conference–but you don’t have to take their freebies.
Stuff holds you back. It really does weigh you down. Every time you see it, it reminds you that you need to deal with it. I have piles of paper to deal with and every time I see them, it makes me feel stressed and I feel like I need to add yet another task to my overlong to do list. Slowly but surely I’ll get through them and I’m sure will end up shredding the bulk of it.
Other stuff isn’t so easy to get rid of. I have a chest full of things from my childhood (do I really need report cards from elementary school or my 8th grade Algebra book (even if fellow students autographed it) or a trophy for Shorthand Student of the Year?), from my kids’ childhoods (they may want the participation ribbons from sporting events or their own report cards some day), from our wedding (seriously, why did I keep the extra napkins from our wedding in 1974?), and miscellaneous other stuff. That sounds like another task for the to do list, but 20-30 minutes should take care of it.
It’s better to keep photos of the stuff you really want to remember than to keep it in a box somewhere. Photos don’t take much physical space and will help you remember what you loved about the item without it actually being there.
Then there are the things that are irreplaceable–like your child’s artwork. Taking pictures of the artwork or actually framing the pieces that you can’t bear to part with will help you sort the stuff you really don’t need.
Do you love it and it makes you feel good every time you see it? Then keep it, display it, or put it somewhere that you can get to it when you need to. Do you love it but it makes you feel bad every time you see it? Take a picture of it and get rid of it. Life is too short for you to feel regret or sadness every time you walk into a room. Do you hate it but you keep it because your mother-in-law gave it to you? Just get rid of it. There is someone out there who would love it. If that’s not you, you don’t need to spend time dusting, moving, and feeling its presence every time you walk into that room. It is YOUR house so you can decorate it as you please. You should feel peace and love when you walk into your living quarters. If you don’t, start getting rid of the stuff holding you down. After all, it’s just stuff.