Marie Kondo, who wrote the now famous book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, makes a huge amount of good suggestions in her book about organizing and tidying. We all know that, undeniably, in order to get really organized one has to get rid of a lot of “stuff” That is nothing new. But one of the many helpful tips that stuck with me from Marie’s book is how to overcome the guilt of getting rid of stuff.
Oh yes, there is guilt. And that guilt causes us to hoard things in our closets, drawers, garages, anywhere to get the stuff out of sight that we feel too guilty to dispose of.
Let me give you just a couple examples. Let’s say you try on an item of clothing at the store and you feel it is “you.” Suddenly, you can’t live without it so you buy it. You take it home and put it in your closet, but there never seems to be the right occasion to wear it. Or maybe you put it on a couple times at home and it just didn’t look the same as it did in the store. But it was expensive, and too much time has gone by to return it.
When that happens, guilt can set in about ridding yourself of this item. Here is the simple formula that has helped me, as suggested by Marie Kondo. Take the item in your hands and say to it “Thank you for helping me know what doesn’t look good on me (or suit my lifestyle).” And rid yourself of it . Somehow it works. It works because the money was not wasted. It was put to good use. And verbalizing the thank you settles it in your mind.
Here’s another example. We all tend to keep a huge amount of things that people gave us as gifts. We know we will never use them or that they are not currently useful to us, but we keep them out of a kind of guilt. After all, your friend gave it as an expression of love! But those boxes of items that have sentimental value take a lot of room and usually, we never, ever look at the them! I’m not saying we should never keep a few cherished items, but the amount can get out of control.
So what to do? Once again, we take the items in our hands, and we say to each one, “Thank you for letting me know how much So and So loves me and how much our relationship means to him/her.” Then, after you have expressed your appreciation, you dispose of it.
I encourage you to give this a try as a precursor to your organizing goals. You just might find it life-changing.
An interesting note: After people had been exposed to Marie Kondo’s teaching about tidying which included “sparking joy” (a topic I didn’t touch on in this blog) as well as thanking items for enriching their lives, thrift stores across the nation reported anywhere between a 50 to an over 300 percent increase in donations!