Monday, December 9, 2013


In the next few posts, I will discuss why getting "rid" of excess will improve your new year. Today, we will look at getting rid of non-essential "stuff"

Mary Chapin Carpenter understands the need to purge. In her song, "Almost Home", she comments, "I saw my life this morning ,lying at the bottom of a drawer
All this stuff I'm saving God knows what this junk is for..."

Well it's certainly the season for excess. 
Cluttered shed
Cluttered shed (Photo credit: UnnarYmir)

Sometimes it's easy to believe the more we do and the more we have, the more successful we will be. That's often a lie we discover too late. 

I certainly believed it was critical to capture every memory of my children for posterity by keeping a photo album and a scrapbook for each of them (three children) every year. Everything from classroom awards, essays, drawings, spelling tests and college acceptance letters went into those scrapbooks. 

Each of my children was given several boxes of scrapbooks and photo albums and while they truly enjoyed looking at all I had saved they did not care to keep their first grade hand prints, 6th grade President's Physical Fitness Award or even the pressed flowers from the senior prom. They took a few things that mattered and I am sure pitched the rest. 

They were far wiser than I.

While I am not a hoarder, I found it difficult to get rid of "things". You know things like, the cork from champagne bottle popped on the date I closed on my first house or the papers identifying a dog long gone as "pedigreed". Things like an old sorority pledge book, the script to a high school play I had the lead in and the license plate off of my first car.

Things are different from true memorablia. Things are what we hold on to because they mattered at one time. Now they are just taking up space and collecting dust.

Sometimes we hold on to things because they remind us of what once was and somehow by hanging on to it, we believe it will once again be. There is no better example than keeping that pair of jeans I love but haven't worn since three inch heels were part of my regular wardrobe. Never gonna get into those again and have known that for decades. 

Last month I pitched the jeans.

Sometimes we hold on to things because we know going through stuff is not going to be an expedient task. We make excuses we need a whole day or week to begin such a time consuming task, even though we know we can just get a box, open a drawer and start with a few minutes daily to clean out the stuff that just continues to accumulate regularly.

Purging time is now part of my weekly schedule.

Sometimes we hold on to things because we feel guilty purging the once "important" items of our life. It might be easier to let someone else find them and let them go or to hope the hot water tank leaks into the box of age old "stuff" giving us no choice but to set it out with the trash on collection day.

A box of countless remotes and chargers which never sold at flea markets or on Craig's list went off to a thrift store a few days ago.

Sometimes we hold onto things because we think we will need them someday. I was never going to need the program from my senior prom, the sign from my first business or the wristband from an amazing BillyJoel/Elton John concert.

Last week they visit the trash collector.

I've started to go through my "stuff" bit by bit, drawer by drawer, closet by closet and discovered I have way too many "things" taking up space. So I am purging box by box, week by week until I can see beyond the past and into the future with more clarity. The more I clean out, the easier I find what I truly need and the better organized I am to reduce my stuff more periodically.

Do you need to start purging your things; your items which have no major significance in your life or anyone's anymore? Is it time to go through your home from top to bottom and really determine what is critical to keep and what is just taking up your space?

If you start removing non-essentials from your life, you will discover your whole life feels lighter. You will hesitate to add more stuff to your life and be wiser about what to really hang on to and you will probably be able to find things far more quickly and be considerably better organized.

Is your space taken up by things that serve little purpose in your life? Then you need to make purging part of your new year's routine as well.

You can't make room for what matters when what doesn't is taking up the space?  TWEET THIS 

Girl Scout Sashes
Girl Scout Sashes (Photo credit: keishkakeishka)

Now, anyone have any need for an old girl scout sash with many badges?

Kathy Brunner is an author, speaker and branding specialist who helps people make their passion happen.CLICK HERE to learn how she can help you re-invent your life
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