Yesterday turned out to be a catch-up day for me. First I realised that I slipped on the blog updates for the challenge, and then I had to catch up on making that epic salad (which actually came out quite epic, by the way!). Unfortunately, while focusing on catching up with that epic salad, I forgot to check out the sunset, so I guess today I’ll be checking out the sunset after taking care of today’s challenge.
That’s the thing about mental health. Kindness is at the core of it. Not just towards others, but towards yourself as well. So when you slip up, be reasonable and measured in your response, rather than excessively harsh with your criticism. It would be very easy to deride myself about not being able to keep up with a simple challenge like this, but I recognise my humanness before I judge myself for being incompetent. I hope you afford yourself a similar kindness.
Day 10: Get rid of 5 things you never use
I know a few people that cringe at the thought of this. Some people hoard magazines, others hoard clothing, and some even hoard unused stationery. Hoarding is a sure sign that you are anchored at some point in the past. It leads to a life focused on defending what you have, rather than growing it. The fear of loss is greater than the excitement of gaining something new.
Building on the theme set in the challenge from day 5 when you needed to de-clutter you desk or room, understanding that someone else could benefit meaningfully from your just-in-case possessions is a major step towards letting go of bad experiences. That same mentality is what will encourage you to learn and grow from your experiences, and to pay it forward by advising others that are facing similar challenges.
Here are a few tips that I try to follow when clearing out the stuff that I no longer use:
- If it no longer fits me, I give it away, unless I am confident that I’ll be able to fit into it again within the next year at the most
- If it is out of fashion, I give it away, because I remind myself that those without clothes are not concerned about being fashionable, rather than waiting a couple of decades for it to come back in fashion
- If it has practical value, like hardware or other objects to be used for decor or home improvements, I resolve to do something with it in the near future and pack it somewhere visible and accessible. If after a year it is still visible and accessible but untouched, I give it away.
- If it is still functional but not in regular use, like tools or appliances, etc. I offer it to someone that I think may have use for it, or I give it away to a charity store or organisation that could find practical use for it
- Whenever I feel like spoiling myself by buying something new even though it is not really essential, I find something old to get rid of to make space for that something new
Any ideas that you can share to help keep the clutter down to a minimum?
Charity begins at home, so it is usually good to first see if someone close to you has use for something before offering it to charity. Not only does it strengthen relationships and appreciation between families, it also encourages a generosity of spirit with those closest to us. When giving things away, I try my best to ensure that it is in a condition and presentation that I wouldn’t mind receiving. Giving something away in a manner that confirms that it is unappreciated and unwanted feels like a condescending hand-out to those that are intended to accept it as a gesture of your goodwill.
There will always be items of sentimental value. The idea is not to strip away sentiment and be clinical about our possessions, but instead to strike a healthy balance between holding on to things for good reason and practical purpose, versus holding on to it because you don’t want to lose money or allow someone else to benefit from something that they didn’t earn. Remember that the more we hold on to, the more there is to maintain. That maintenance is not only in practical tangible terms, but also in mental space and emotional investment. That’s why millions feel a sense of relief after re-organising their closet, or clearing out the cupboards, or cleaning out the store room.
As strange as we are as humans, it is the symbolic gestures contained in such efforts to establish order, or peace, that resonates with us in ways that is often difficult to quantify. Do yourself a favour and get rid of the things that are keeping you grounded in a moment that you likely outgrew a long time ago. Not only will you feel lighter and good about it, but someone else will benefit, and that’s always a good karma to attract in your life, isn’t it?