A Decluttering Thought Exercise

I’ve been in a real decluttering mood as of late. I did a clothes clear out, went through a few drawers full of odds and ends, did a once over on my book collection, and even edited the kitchen by quite a lot (cooking gadgets and utensils are my ultimate hoarding weakness!). Perhaps it’s the promise of a new calendar year that has me wanting to clear out the old.

Whatever the reason, it’s certainly been a successful few weeks in the minimizing-my-home department.

So, I thought I’d share with you the little thought exercise I use when I’m feeling apprehensive about letting go of *stuff*. Maybe it will help you let go of the material goods or possessions in your own home that cause you to feel bogged down. Here’s what I do…

First, I think of my happiest memories. Then, I try and identify what made them so great. Was it the people I was with? The place? A certain time of year or a feeling of security? Most importantly, was it the STUFF? Usually, as I compose bullet points in my head about these wonderful moments in my life, the “things” involved in the memories – the clothes and the knick-knacks and the books and the KITCHEN GADGETS (lol!) – sink to the bottom. After all, they’re heavy and take up space. Conversely, the feelings are weightless.

And many times I find memories created through the absence of possessions pop up, too. Like when I lived abroad as a child and the absence of tons of toys meant my sister and I went outside to play more. Or when Chet and I first moved to Miami and the absence of lots of furniture meant we didn’t just sit but explored.

Think about your very favorite vacation.
Do you remember everything you packed?

Now I’m not saying I could be one of those people who pares down so fully that they can live with 100 or less possessions. I love watching the YouTube videos those people make but I’m not naive enough to think I can disassociate all feelings from certain possessions. I’ll always have too many books and a drawer of kitchen utensils that can barely close. But once a year, maybe twice, I can edit. And my happy memories thought exercise is how I do it.

Are you successful when it comes to decluttering or do you find it difficult to part with possessions? How do you manage to minimize your home? Let’s chat about it in the comments below! 


12 thoughts on “A Decluttering Thought Exercise

  1. As someone settling down, ready for a home and family, I could never do the “only 100 possessions” thing either, but we are picky about what we do bring into our home and only shop when we need something. I have friends who buy something every single time they go out, just because they like something, without thinking through the purchase on whether or not that item will actually be something they need or is useful. I can’t imagine shopping that way.

  2. I’m good at decluttering stuff. Like an actual things, real life things but decluttering my mind is the hardest & something I haven’t learned yet – I should try though.

  3. Your posts are always well written and I loved reading them. This one is really good. 🙂
    I have no problem with letting go of something. And I am very rational when it comes to shopping some stuff for my house.

  4. There is a good point in your post – materia isn’t the reason why are happy or remember things, how ever it often makes those moments possible. If you haven’t had anything to bag the favorite trip would have turned quite different – or without a collection of wineglasses a wine tasting wouldn’t be as cool. Anyhow, those items don’t make things happen themselves. It’s good to have some necessary items but collecting things you don’t use doesn’t make much sense. Personally, I try to invest in high quality items and sell / giveaway the ones I don’t use.

  5. Decluttering is SO hard for me! Its helped that my boyfriend (we live together) is anti-junk, so I have learned to edit myself when buying new things. However getting rid of existing things is harder.

  6. Great post. In my case if I find an object reminds me of someone who is not in my life anymore I treasure it like a passport. It’s like there’s a part of that person, a fingerprint sealed onto the thing. I just can’t help it! Like Victor Hugo said, things brings us back in time…

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