When I'm working with clients on cleaning out their closets, it's a funny situation. Everyone has been having internal conversations with themselves as to why they should keep things they don't use or wear. It's my job to talk them through them and help them see the light! I'll be doing the same thing in the Making Space course. Here are three of the top stumbling blocks I've encountered and how to talk yourself through them.
Stumbling block: It was a good deal
This is a stumbling block that I know intimately, because it was the one that most often did me in. Ultimately, this is a shopping habit that needs to be changed, but we’ll get to that another time. Right now, you need to think about whether this item is serving you. If it is not, it doesn’t matter if it was a great deal, even if it was free, it is still taking up valuable space without providing value to you. We are often proud of the story of how we found something and how much we saved, even if the item itself is not something we need. Go ahead and tell someone that story - and then let it go.
Stumbling block: I love it, but…
I refer to these items as having a ‘fatal flaw’. Basically, you love everything about it except that it has one thing that renders it unwearable for you. Maybe it’s a gorgeous top, but it’s sheer and you hate wearing an extra layer under it. Maybe it’s a dress with a print that you absolutely love, but the fabric is scratchy. Whatever the issue is, you’re not going to all of a sudden wake up one day and be able to ignore it. It won’t get worn, so you have to let it go. Acknowledge and learn from why you love it and apply that to your future purchases.
Stumbling block: It’s high quality/it was expensive
This is a similar stumbling block as the first one, but there is more guilt involved here. We feel guilt because we feel as though we’ve wasted money if we buy something expensive and then get rid of it. Unfortunately, that money is gone whether we keep the item or not. In business, this is called a sunk cost and should be considered irrelevant. It’s not as if we get our money back the longer we keep the thing. If we let it go, we may be able to get some of our money out of it by selling it, or we can make someone else’s day to get something so high quality.
I often use Marie Kondo's theories with my clients. Marie Kondo wrote The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which is a unique and revolutionary way of looking at organizing and decluttering. She writes that it’s often easier to let go of something if you thank it. While that sounds odd, what it means is that you thank the item for what it has taught you. If you bought something expensive and never wore it, what did it teach you? Maybe it taught you that you hate wearing pink. Maybe it taught you that you prefer to wear dresses more than skirts. Whatever it taught you, be grateful for that lesson, thank the item, and then let it go.
There are four more stumbling blocks we'll cover in the Making Space course, including:
It was a gift
I might need it
I'll fit into it again one day
I loved it and wore it a lot, but not anymore
Do you identify with any of these hurdles to letting items go? You can start the Making Space course anytime and work through these issues for yourself. To join the class, click below.