Today’s post is the fourth in a series on using the STYLE process to take your organizing to the next level. So far, we’ve focused on “S” (Start with successes), “T” (Take small steps) and “Y” (Yes, it has a home). Today, we’re moving on to “L”: Let it go.
For many of us getting organized and getting rid of excess stuff go hand in hand. But if you’ve got an I love stuff personal style, that second part can be a little bit intimidating. So many things that seem insignificant to other people are wrapped in a cocoon of memories for I love stuff folks.
Even those of us who wouldn’t put ourselves into the I love stuff category can become overwhelmed sorting through things and figuring out what to do with them. All of the things we’ve collected were, at some point, important to us, serving a useful purpose or imbued with some meaning. This, coupled with the fact that we might have scrimped and saved for (or spent months paying off) the items in question can lend an exaggerated value to our things, convincing us that our trash is someone else’s treasure.
It usually isn’t.
And therein lies the painful part. Sometimes, we simply have to put them out with the trash.
I must admit to cringing at this option, arguing that surely someone, somewhere can use this! Convinced of this fact, some of us spend hours pricing things and sitting out in the sun (we hope) at a yard sale, hoping to recoup some of our investment. I used to belong to this group, but after the money earned at the last very hot, very long yard sale I hosted disappeared in about a tenth of the time it took to earn it, I crossed this option off my list.
If you, like me, long to reduce, declutter and recycle but don’t want to go the yard sale route, you might benefit from setting some boundaries. First, corral three boxes and separate your disposables into categories: trash (if I’m brutally honest with myself, no one else will want this stuff), recycle and resell/donate.
At the end of the sorting session, take out the trash and recycling. Then, set a decision date for the resell/donate items, based on how long you think it will take to find a place that might be interested in them. Write that date on the box and on your calendar.
When you figure out where you’re taking the things in that pile, write the drop-off date in your planner and put the items in the car. If the deadline comes and goes and the items are still in your car, they become trash.
Can you cut yourself some slack, donating the items a week after deadline? That’s entirely up to you. But, if you’re serious about letting things go, that means letting them go completely, not simply moving them from the basement to the mudroom to the car, where they take up an indefinite period of residence. (Not that I’ve ever done that.)
Let it go! is probably the toughest part of the STYLE process but, without it, we quickly overrun our living space, making organizing far more complicated than it needs to be. Luckily, unless you’re relocating, letting it go is not something that has to be done all at once; in fact, it’s often most productive when done in stages.
Look around. What can you let go of?
Copyright 2017 Lisa Hess