Why Is It So Hard to Let Go of Things?

This is a run down of why I find it difficult to let go of clutter in my home.

  • I don't have time to work on it now, but I will, I'm absolutely sure of it. 
  • I anticipate a time when it will be useful again.
  • It was a bad purchase (eggplant tights, anyone?) and if I get rid of it, I will be admitting that I made a mistake and wasted my money.
  • It belonged to someone I love or to a period of time I was happy. (The custom made dress my mother wore at her debut.)
  • Money is tight and even if I have no use for it (rice maker for a small restaurant) I cannot bear to throw money out the window. This is similar to number one but the item has no chance of EVER being used for any reason.
  • It's just so pretty! (Three of my mom's 1960s era sequined clutches.)

Thought patterns listed above are what keep me from a kind of minimalism I crave. My motto of loving what I have and using it often never manages to overcome certain possessions. I lug them around from place to place wondering when the right moment will come to let it all go. The unfinished projects. The sentimental things. The once useful now irrelevant. The irrelevant but pretty. These are all so stubborn and painfully dissonant to how I see myself.

After all, how can a professional giver of advice on all things streamlined and utilitarian have these dusty things hanging about in her own closets and under bed storage? One good thing I can see to having this weakness is that it brews compassion for those I work with and helps me reason successfully with them by being able to ask the right questions. Often they are better at letting things go than I am. Maybe it's because I am there to witness them making the right choices, the kind of choices I'd make if I had an organizer asking me whether I had any outfit that would be improved if had eggplant colored tights to go with it. Or if it proved that I loved my mother more because I hang on to evidence of her as a young socialite.

Maybe, after I finish this post, I will feel just motivated enough to freecycle that 15 cup rice maker. That would free up an entire half a wall cabinet, valuable real estate in a NYC kitchen.


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