My basement is a disaster.
Boxes and boxes of stuff take up this unlived in space. I had five totes of VHS movies. I don’t even own a VCR, why in the world am I taking up space with these unusable items?
There is no logical reason for keeping them.
So why was I hanging onto them?
You see, many of the movies I loved from childhood never made it to DVD. Movies that I watched with my Grandma, movies that I shared with my friends, movies I loved.
I had dreams of sharing these favorites with my kids; dreams of snuggling on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and reliving memories from years past.
I had convinced my mind that purging the boxes of VHS movies would mean letting go of these memories. That things and memories were tied together in an unbreakable bond.
Do you also have boxes of stuff you can’t use anymore? Are you mistakenly holding onto the possessions instead of the memories like I was?
Here are a few tips for finally letting go.
1. Get to the root of the problem
If you don’t understand why you are having a hard time getting rid of something, try to analyze the situation. What emotions do these items trigger?
When you understand WHY you are holding onto something, it helps you to say goodbye.
2. Assess the situation
My basement has been taken over by possessions. There’s so much clutter, and not much useable space. Removing the five tubs would help immensely.
If I was talking about a few notes from a friend, the space issue wouldn’t be as paramount.
You know your situation. What benefit would you get from parting with the item you’re struggling with? What benefits do you get by hanging onto them?
3. Try to recreate the memories you desire without the stuff
I wanted to watch my favorite old movies with my kids. You know what? They don’t care what movie we watch. They just want to snuggle and eat popcorn. We are building memories each and every day—I don’t need a VCR for that.
How can you recreate the emotional connection without the actual object you’re holding onto?
4. Realize that your money has been sunk already
I hate the idea of getting rid of so many movies. Those each cost around $20. There’s a part of me that just can’t see that much money slip away.
You know what? That money is spent. It’s gone. I’ll never get it back.
VHS tapes are outdated. There is not a huge market for resale anymore. I need to accept that and move on. If you are able to recapture some money by selling the items you are holding onto, go for it! However, don’t let a loss of money be a reason for keeping things.
As you walk yourself through these steps, you can slowly release the emotional hold that things have on you. It won’t always be easy, and you may take two steps forward and one step back, but progress is progress!
Yesterday, I finally had enough. I took these old movies out to the dumpster and tossed them in. It was a freeing experience, and felt good. Until I looked back.
I saw two of my very favorites on top. I pulled them out for a few minutes, tempted to put them back in the basement. Then I stopped thinking with my emotions. I gave the movies another glance, longingly remembered the joy I had watching them, and tossed them back in.
This time I didn’t look back. I walked away. The closing lid of the dumpster reminded me of my triumph; I successfully purged something I’d been holding onto for too long.
How about you? Are you emotionally tied into stuff that you can’t part with? What’s holding you back from simplifying your things?
As a busy homeschooling mama to seven kids, Lisa Tanner knows the importance of a simplified life. You can find her blogging about managing and simplifying life in a large family over at maggiesmilk.com.