Around the House

Rethinking Clearing Out The Stash

It seems to be ‘the thing’ to do these days; clear out all, if not most, of the things you own to simplify your living space.

As one who has a history of having loads of things collected over time and then having to do something with them, I get it. But I came across an article a while back that made me stop and rethink the clear out ideology a bit.

I’m an avid reader, music, and movie fan. As a result, over the years I’ve had loads (tons?) of material that fit into those particular categories. Truly. When I moved into my home after being a long term renter, I not only had to find a way to get my stash from one state to another, but from storage to the house. And my house is not huge.

At the time my video library was pretty decent, my music library reasonably sized and my book collection was, well, substantial.

I ended up giving away loads of books. My video library has always been conditional; i.e.; I bought only those things I knew I wanted to watch multiple times. There have been a few acquisitions that didn’t meet that criteria, but, thankfully, not many. My music library is still pretty <gulp> substantial, but overall manageable.

What I learned after moving and reassessing my stash was that most of what I had, or kept were things that I was particularly attached to. If I rashly got rid of all the stuff just to meet someone else’s idea of whatever, I’d be pretty upset and a bit broke – these items were not cheap and they aren’t all easy to find, either.

As I perused that article I mentioned, I got to thinking about having to restock a household. I know of a couple of people who have had to do this due to either a home burning down or natural disaster. We often encounter these disasters thinking about the family photos and such, what we often forget is the regular things we need to exist in our homes.

Things like, dishes, pots and pans, bedding, towels, clothes, not to mention pet items like beds, litter boxes and toys.

Notice I never mentioned electronics, video libraries, and such.

The things we have in our homes reflect ourselves. Even if we don’t always understand that. Some collect items for the sake of accumulation. Shopaholics, if you will. Even those items purchased not necessarily because of ‘need’ but more ‘want’ are a reflection of the purchaser.

While I don’t think living in homes that are so crowded that we don’t actually have use of the space (been there) is necessarily a good thing, I do think that it is worth taking the time to clear out things that are no longer needed or wanted rather than just pick it all up and send it away.

In other words, you can go a bit too far following the latest trendy craze and doing a massive clear out.

First, give yourself permission to do the task.

Second, make a list of ground rules. What to keep, what to sell, what to give away.

Third, stick to the rules.

Fourth, allow yourself a bit of time to process the clear out. It can/will be a bit emotional. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Move forward.

Fifth, enjoy the end result.

What you will discover is that most of what you have removed from your home are items you never really had much attachment to, or use for, and don’t miss. That will be a bit surprising.

The odd thing about a clear out, no matter if it is physical or emotional, is that by removing things that no longer serve you, you make room for things that will. You will no longer be overwhelmed by the clutter of stuff and have the room and time to embark on new experiences.

And, you will hang on to those things that give you joy, make you smile, work for you and fit in your home.

Win/Win, right?

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