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Tips for Letting Go of Old Belongings

By Jade C. Pulman

Parting with old stuff can be hard. We have emotional ties to our belongings, and there is always the question of whether we may need something for the future, even if we haven’t used it in ages. Below are some tips for making that decision and what to do with unneeded items.

Deciding what to keep

When deciding what to toss, be strategic. Apartment Therapy details some questions you can ask yourself when going through your things. Do you actually like it? Is it of value to you? One question that I find the most helpful is “when is the last time I’ve used this?” I find that if I haven’t used something for the past year, I’m probably not going to get much use out of it in the future. I’m better off tossing or donating it than letting it take up space.

Holding onto these old belongings that you haven’t used or have little value to you in your life can be detrimental to your health. It is so easy to justify holding onto things because of memories, it belonged to an old friend or family member, etc. But, if you are able to let go of these things, your home will be tidier and your mind can be at ease. If a belonging has some sentimental value to you but feel you should rid of it, try taking a picture of the item and holding onto that instead.

Where to put it

Once you decide what you’re going to keep, the next step is to figure out what to do with your items. For those you plan to keep, you’ll need to find a spot for it that’s out of the way but easily accessible. Good Housekeeping has some great organizational tips. You may also find you have things you want or need to keep but don’t have a good place for. This is where storage options come in. The last time I purged, I looked for storage units near me that would be able to hold my belongings that I needed to keep but wouldn’t need immediate access to. This can be a great way to alleviate clutter and make some extra room at home.

Putting these things away and out of sight can also be a great way to decide if you really need that item or if you can muster up the courage to let it go. Time away from your things can clear your mind and help you know what is really important to you. Then, after making additional decisions, you will be able to make a second run through of all that you have and let go of additional items.

Donate, sell, or toss?

As for the things you want to part with, the next decision is whether to donate, sell, or throw away. If you’re looking to make extra cash, selling can be a good option but might be more time consuming. If you want to feel good while making more room, you can consider donating, which also has some tax benefits. Either way, there are plenty of options when it comes to figuring out what to do with unneeded items.

Purging doesn't have to be stressful. In fact, it can be fun and fulfilling when you have the right tools and mindset. If you come across a time when you feel that you have little space and have many items, consider taking a few minutes to contemplate if these items are things that you really need and that may be necessary to your life. Consider trying some of these tips and see how you feel after a little decluttering.

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