So, you're moving soon; maybe in a week, or even in a month. You're predicting that moving day is going to be chaotic and stressful, so you want to get ahead of it by throwing away the stuff you don't want. That's the mistake a lot of rookie movers make: they'll bring a lot of stuff to their new place, then they'll throw out a bunch of things they don't need or that don't fit. But that's not you—you know better. You want to clear your belongings of everything that's useless, broken, old, or unused.
But that's a lot easier said than done.
You might start with your clothing, and you may even do well for a little bit. You'll get rid of some old shirts that you've been meaning to throw away; you'll donate some jeans that used to fit. But then you come across a dress or a suit that was your dream fit—something you bought when you started going to the gym or tried a new diet. All of a sudden, your old commitments come rushing back, and you think "You know, maybe I'll lose weight after this move. Maybe I should keep this."
Before long, all you've done is gotten rid of a few shirts and signed up for a gym membership near your new place.
That's because getting rid of old things isn't just about setting up a pile labeled "Donate"; getting rid of old things is about confronting change.
Main Reasons Why It’s Hard to Get Rid of Stuff
Every person is different, but many people feel the following emotions when they start to go through and get rid of their stuff. Understanding and accepting these emotions is a helpful first step when you’re decluttering!
When people start to get rid of stuff, they may feel:
- Guilt because they spent money on it, it seems wasteful, it was a gift, or it was owned by someone who has since passed away.
- Grief because they are saying goodbye to belongings that may have held some emotional value to them.
- Fondness toward the object or objects because they associate them with certain memories or times of their lives.
- Overwhelmed by the amount of work there is to do. It may seem like it will never end!
- Frustrated that they have so much stuff in the first place.
- Anxiety that they will later need one or more of the belongings they get rid of, but they won’t have it anymore.
All of these feelings are perfectly normal. It’s important to remind yourself that you don’t have to get rid of everything and live a minimalist lifestyle to be happy. You need to find your balance and stick with it! And if you do have certain belongings that you may not use but that bring you happiness when you look at them, keep them in your environment. There’s nothing wrong with holding on to happy memories while you make new ones.
What Your Things Say About You
What people buy is often a statement about what kind of people they think they are (or hope to be). People who buy treadmills want to be seen as healthy and fit. People who buy themselves gardening books probably want to be gardeners. People who have a lot of unused camera equipment, at one point, wanted to be seen as a photographer or videographer.
A lot of things don't fall into that category; that's why most of us don't have a problem giving away or trashing a broken TV remote or an old stereo. But the things that do fall into that category—Things That Represent Who We Are—are extremely hard to get rid of. At the core of throwing those things away, you're not just throwing away an old pair of jeans or an old piece of athletic equipment—you're throwing away who you used to be. In some cases, you might be getting rid of an old dream that you aren't chasing anymore.
Giving away a set of dumbbells might not be hard, but giving up on your dream of having a home gym might be more difficult than you bargained for.
Where to Start
Here's a good place to start if you're donating or trashing old pieces of your life: start with who you are right now, at this moment. What are your current dreams, your current projects? What items do you need to fulfill those dreams right now? Make a list of all your current plans and projects, then make a second list of all the things you need to make those plans happen.
Then, while you go through your old things, ask yourself:
- Is this thing going to help me with any of my current plans or projects?
- Is this thing connected to an old plan or project that I've let go of?
It's hard work, but it's vital to helping you let go of stuff that's only taking up space—both in your house and in your mind.
Get Support from the Moving Experts at AQMS!
Moving can be overwhelming. It's hard to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for a move while also handling the logistics of packing, finding a truck, and getting your household in order before the Big Day. If you're looking for a partner to handle all the tedious, difficult stuff while you focus on what matters, then we can help.
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