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When In Doubt, Throw It Out

Ever feel like you have just too much stuff? Whether in your attic, basement, garage, closet, or even your general living space, sometimes it feels like saying “stuff” is just taking over. While it can certainly seem overwhelming to take care of everything now, your future self (and loved ones) will probably thank you.

In this week’s Ponderings by Jonathan Pond, he covers the benefits of decluttering your domicile. For our family, we’re trying to get better about making sure to go by the acronym of O.H.I.O (Only Handle It Once). Sometimes, it can be hard to let go of things for many reasons, be it for sentimental purposes, and they’re important documents, valuables, etc. In recent years, the “art” of decluttering has become popularized due to the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I have also been enjoying reading Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain as a way to help reduce digital clutter as well.

As Pond reminds us, once we get past the notion that everything we own is essential to our happiness, reducing our stuff feels pretty good. Last summer, we did the same thing with many old items in our garage. The sense of pride and accomplishment you get from organization and decluttering is quite freeing, especially in the mental health department. He also mentions that if you’re starting to get up there age-wise, decluttering can be a HUGE help to those who may have to clean out your home and belongings at some point in the future. It could also help you eliminate any items that could be embarrassing to a family member, like old report cards or other items.

It can certainly take a lot of time to go through everything, with potentially some painful decisions having to be made. In that case, make sure you are sensitive to a spouse or partner who might be involved in the process. Pond goes on to list some general rules of thumb that could aid you in the decision-making process:

  1. If you haven’t used the item in the past year, you probably don’t need it.
  2. Whatever you decide on, if it has no sentimental value or touches your soul, don’t hold onto it.
  3. Saying: “I’ve been looking for that for years” means you had long forgotten that you even had it, so you clearly can get through life without it.
  4. Finally, regularly repeat this mantra: “When in doubt, throw it out” or, better yet, donate it, or if possible, recycle it.

What about you, readers? Do you have any tips on de-cluttering or organization to share? Feel free to comment below!

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