When Peter Walsh was talking to the audience, he suggested there are 2 types of clutter:
- Memory Clutter
- ‘I might need that someday’ clutter
Let’s take a look at each and see how we can re-think the way we look at those items.
Memory clutter is anything that you keep to remind yourself of a person, a time, a past event, etc. Things like:
- kids art work
- old love letters
- ticket stubs from concerts
- cards (birthday, anniversary, etc.)
- clothing from holidays, concerts, etc
- sentimental items – items passed down from generation (to generation)
Why do people tend to hold on to these type of articles? Peter Walsh suggests that by letting go of the items, people may feel that they will loose the memory. Just stop and think about that for a minute. If you got rid of that old t-shirt that you bought when you saw Duran Duran (and yes – this is now aging me), would you loose the memory of that concert? Most likely not. My mom, not too long ago, finally was able to get rid of my dad’s Maui 86 t-shirt (and yes – that was 1986!).
When thinking of kids artwork, Peter Walsh asked this question to the audience: “The best memories of your children: are they behind you or in front of you?”
It’s not to say that you can’t keep anything. It just means there are ways to keep items that really hold memories for you. For your kids art work, Peter suggests you take pictures of their artwork. You can create a scrap book, a digital photo book, etc.
Sentimental items tend to be tricky for people to deal with. We’re talking about items that are passed down to you, family heirlooms, etc. Peter suggests the following,
“Separate the memory from the object.” ~Peter Walsh
This is an area where it really is important to re-frame the way you look at the items you have.
“No one who loves you, or has loved you, wants their stuff to strangle you.” ~ Peter Walsh
If there are love letters you wish to keep, instead of keeping them in a box (tucked under the stairs or in the attic), take a few and frame them. Have them out where you can enjoy them every day. In a previous post, I talked about when my dear grandmother passed away and what I ended up keeping. Her mixing bowl set (which meant I gave away the one I had been using) as well as her Mix Master. Those are items I use and every time I use them, I think about her.
I Might Need It One Day Clutter
The first thing I think about in this category are what I call “wish clothes.”
- I wish I could fit into those Size 2 jeans again
- I wish my butt would look great in those pants
- I wish that dress would come back in style one day
- I wish…
You get the point? As Peter suggested, you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. Stop and think about this one for a minute. Is that true for you? If you’re not sure, start to pay attention when you’re doing laundry and when you’re getting dressed. If you are truly not sure, then you can do a test on your closet:
- Turn all of your hangers around so they are facing backwards.
- When you take something out to wear, flip that hanger to face the other way.
- After 6 months, any clothes that are still on a hanger facing backwards are clothes you don’t wear. It’s time to get rid of those clothes.
The key to this trick is to be honest. Don’t let your clothes mock you. Having sizes in your closet that range from a size 6 – 16 are not doing you any good.
The second thing I think about in ‘I might need this one day clutter’ are items that have been purchased because it was on sale. If you bought something because it was on sale, that is not a good enough reason to keep it. Plain and simple! Many people hold on to these items because they have already spent money on it and consider it a waste of money to get rid of it. The following quote was my absolute favourite from the evening,
“Just because you are holding on to an item doesn’t mean you haven’t already wasted money on it.“
~ Peter Walsh
If you are not using an item, then get rid of it. Bought on sale or not – it’s time to let it go!
Throughout this entire process, continue to revisit the on-going theme:
What is the vision you wish to create for you space?
Keep going back to that question and be honest and truthful with yourself. Remember, it’s your space!
Coming Soon – Are We On The Same Page?