When I work with clients, so often we are going through items and they happily exclaim, “Oh, I LOVE this!” They get to say this a few times (and I do say this myself), but if I hear this sentence used too much as a rationalization for keeping things that are not needed, we have to discuss that. The stuff does not love you back! What is at the root of this love for inanimate objects?
Loved items from the PAST
We form attachments to objects because we love the memories that those objects represent. A model car might represent that car you drove in high school, with the attached memories of the fun you had with your friends driving around. Baby clothes represent the sweet memories of your children’s cuteness (before they became teenagers). It’s great to keep some mementos, but only if they are not overpowering your ability to function in your current time and space and blocking what you can do in the present and future.
Loved items for the FUTURE
We also might love objects because of what we hope they represent for ourselves later. You may prize an exquisite tablecloth you never use, because you envision using it at a fancy dinner party for your friends in the future. You may hold on to an antique easel because someday you envision yourself taking up painting. Keeping a few items like these is a great idea for reminding you of your goals. But if those goals have become unrealistic and are now just nagging you and reminding you about stale aspirations, they need to go and make room for other more relevant items.
Loved items that are BEAUTIFUL
We may love objects because they bring beauty and enjoyment into our lives. Art and other creative items like books are very important to inspire us and make us feel good in our spaces. The famous quote by William Morris says, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” So, if it’s beautiful to you, are you displaying it? If not, why? Again, if you have so much that it’s affecting your ability to function, you need to pare it down. Remember, form follows function!
What objects do you love? Are they getting in your way? If you’ve been inspired to pare it down, remember that donating to Goodwill® is the best way to provide a good home to your loved items while helping others in your own community to find a good job. Find your nearest Goodwill donation center at http://locator.goodwill.org.