The reasons we save things can be broken down to four categories. When struggling with de-cluttering decisions, it may be helpful to identify which category applies to the items in question and maybe even sort those items accordingly. It might teach you a little bit about yourself!
1. Personal identity “Giving this away would be like giving away a piece of myself.” This includes items that are associated with happy memories or that feel like an extension of ourselves or loved ones. People who keep a lot of this type of item are often sensitive, warm and caring, but managing so much stuff may prevent them from creating even more happy memories.
2. Potential usefulness “This might come in handy some day” is the slogan for this category. People who keep items for this reason are often creative, resourceful and like to be helpful to others, but they may be sabotaging themselves with so much stuff that they don’t remember what they have or can’t find things when they need them.
3. Intrinsic beauty “I keep all things that are purple,” or “it’s just too pretty to give away” are examples of this category. People who appreciate an item’s unique attributes are often highly perceptive and appreciative of nature or the creative efforts of others. The downside is that their accumulation of stuff can create obstacles to enjoying other types of beauty, such as sunlight streaming through an unobstructed window and creating random patterns on a bare floor.
4. Environmental concerns “I don’t want to add more to the landfill.” People with these concerns are often very conscientious and self-sacrificing, but what is the true cost to them and their loved-ones? How much more good could you be doing in your community if you weren’t stuck at home, trying to manage your stuff?
If you’re struggling with more possessions than you can easily manage, consider these motivations for keeping things, and be honest about whether you’re really getting the intended benefits of your stuff.
Do you have a different reason for saving? Tell me!