Assess your stuff

January 4, 2018

A small birdhouse my son colored with marker a few years ago. A solar-powered turkey decoration from Thanksgiving. A speech contest trophy I didn't realize I still had. Book after book after book I have never read and will never read. 


Even though the move from one office to another took only a few minutes and was only a few dozen feet, as I pulled items out of the boxes I had thrown them into, I began to see each one with fresh eyes. Suddenly I had the ability to be discerning, and to minimize the number of things I was keeping. 


I helped my boss get her office set up as well. Old articles, books, giveways, photos, and tchotchkes, items she had accumulated but wasn't really into anymore, were moved out. When she discarded two-thirds of her awards and plaques, the ones that remained took on additional importance and now had the space they deserved. That's the key: when you consciously choose to keep selected items (and discard others), the value of the items you keep goes up. 


Identify a small part of your space you want to reassess: your bathroom medicine cabinet, the kitchen utensil drawer, your desktop, the top shelf of the bookcase, the corner of your garage. Put everything into a box. Then come back to the box, and as you take out each item, consider these questions: 


  • Am I regularly using this? 

  • Will I use this/read this/need this sometime in the next year?

  • Do I love this?  

  • Does this spark joy?


If the answer to any of these is yes, keep the item and continue to enjoy it. But if the answer to all the questions is no, it's time to say goodbye. Recycle it, give it away, sell it, or trash it. And then bask in the glow that comes from living in a more purposeful space. 


Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

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​© 2020 by Christin Smith Myers.

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"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."

    - Henry David Thoreau