As a professional organizer, I encourage people to keep an inventory of their belongings. Whether you have to place a claim with your insurance company or you’re thinking of moving or renovating, you need to know what you have.
Most people are surprised by the amount of stuff they own, once they start paying attention. Like the practice of writing down everything you eat, writing down everything you own can cause you to question your behavior. How did you end up with multiples of gadgets you almost never use? What were you thinking when you bought that equipment from a late-night infomercial? Analyzing shopping mistakes can be painful, but it’s important to recognize what you need and what you can let go.
Once you start to evaluate what you have, think about how you want to live. Peter Walsh, author and professional organizer, says
Visualize the life you want, and then ask, ‘Does this item enhance that vision or get in the way of it?’
What is the vision you want for your life? You might be starting a new career or adding to your family. Maybe you’re getting ready to retire and you want to spend more time pursuing hobbies. You could be preparing to take on a new challenge that you’ve always dreamed of.
You’ll need to include some – but probably not all – of your possessions to create your vision. Give yourself permission to let go of things that don’t add value to your life. Be ruthless when considering if you will ever use an item again. If you don’t love it or use it, let go of it and allow someone else to benefit from it.
Before you bring anything new into your home, no matter how attractive or useful it is, ask yourself if it meets the criteria you set for your vision. Don’t let price influence your decision; it doesn’t matter what a “bargain” something is if it gets in the way of achieving your goal.
If you are having trouble deciding whether to keep something, consider Peter Walsh’s advice. You don’t have to throw everything out and start all over. Go slowly and think carefully about what you keep. Let it be a reflection of what you value.
Do the things you own fit in with your vision? Leave a comment, below, and tell us how.