Sometimes out of the generosity of the heart, because someone begged, “gifted” us, or a beloved family member passed away, we end up with other people’s stuff in our own homes. Quarantine helped me realize the unimportance of many things I was hanging onto and gave me the impetus and time to clear it out.
Even if other’s people’s stuff is out in the shed or yard it affects us. I remember that some furniture of grandpa’s was stashed in the empty barn on the family farm where I grew up. It was cool stuff, but to this day, every time I think of it I feel sad because birds pooped on it and the change of the weather made it swell, then turn cold and crack. I would have loved to use it. Circumstances didn’t allow it at the time. I shared a rental that didn’t have the room and if I had the space, I didn’t have a way to transport it the 130 miles.
For those of you who have children, that day when they have enough room may never come. And what was desirable back in the day may be obsolete junk now. Just imagine, if you give it away to a used reseller, it might once again spark joy by being upcycled or be just the gadget that someone needed. Or consider having a sale. It could be just the ticket to a much needed vacation!
If you are not the only one living in your home, you might have found that it affects your relationship(s). We all need some breathing room. Maybe your child would love their own special reading spot. Perhaps you would like a quiet “office” or roomy bedroom where you can relax. Maybe you would like to do some wood-working, your spouse loves to paint large canvases, or the family would have a blast playing table tennis, but it can’t happen because that extra garage stall is packed to the gills with furniture and stuff left over after the divorce.
Before the pandemic I often went to estate sales. At times I would become acutely aware of the feelings that a home or an object held. Sometimes it was very positive and happy. More often there was sadness associated with loneliness, grief, divorce, or illness. So that’s another thing. Could you be affected in unseen ways by some of the other people’s things in your home and environs?
Guilt – that’s their stuff, or was their stuff – so you feel guilty about getting rid of it or requiring that they take it back. Thinking that causes other people’s stuff to continue to weigh you down:
- It meant something to that other person or you at some time.
- It was a gift.
- You don’t want it but “should” keep it for somebody else.
- Someone else or even you might use this “someday”.
- The kids or grandkids might have room for it “someday”.
- That cost a lot of money.
- I’m afraid to ask them to take their stuff back and/or let their reasons for not doing so become my reasons for hanging onto it.
- It could be a valuable collector’s item “someday”.
Someday seldom comes. Why weigh yourself down today based on a possibility? Do you have other ways of thinking that keep you crowded by stuff? This article by designer, Rita Wilkins, “The Down-sizing Designer”, is excellent. It tells you ways to deal with the problem. She talks about giving your loved ones or friends the chance to say, “No,” to taking back their stuff thus giving you permission to delete it. Remember your home is where you live.
The Rita Wilkins’ article also has good tips on how to sort what is cluttering your environs, how to get rid of those things that aren’t giving you joy, how to sell or give away items (including those things that you “might need someday” or someone “might want someday”). Give yourself permission and take back your home!