So much stuff and how to let go

looking to my backyard

The view from where I work. The home we’ve lived in for 28 years.

We have lived in our house for close to three decades. During that time, we’ve acquired a lot of stuff. We had our babies here, raised them and sent them off to school and adulthood. They left most of their stuff behind in their bedrooms. It’s time to declutter!

We are in the process of clearing out junk, getting the yard cleaned up, and fixing the house up. We’re talking about moving. Whether or not that happens will be seen, but we’re cleaning out our clutter, painting and fixing things up as though we’re going to do it.

It’s a difficult process and I have so much trouble letting go of things. When we moved in we brought all our junk with us from our prior house. Then we got keepsakes from our parents, not to mention years of swim meet medals, school awards and assorted keepsakes from our children — and our own honors, awards and baubles. Then there’s the photos albums, camping gear, beach stuff, artwork, manuscripts, etc.

Today I called my son and told him I made a trip to our local thrift shop Angel View, that supports crippled children’s homes. I had trouble parting with two caps he used to wear. I finally tossed them in the “to go” pile

baseball caps

My son’s caps filled me with nostalgia.

and both kids told me, “Oh no!” One was from Guide Dogs of the Desert from when my son raised money for the charity rather than accept birthday presents in the second grade.(I wrote a story for the LA Times about that and wrote about it here.) The other was from Olympic Trials in Long Beach where he got Olympic swimmers to sign his cap as well as his teammates. I am fighting the urge to go back to Angel View and buy the two caps!

Here’s excerpt from an article from NPR with tips by Emma Bowen called ‘But Do I Love You?’: Tips For Homebound Declutterers

Where to start

The sheer volume of possessions accumulated through generations, compounded by any associated sentimental value, can create what might seem like an insurmountable task when it comes to the weeding-out process.

Overcoming those challenges, Hall said, starts with having the right mindset.

“You have to be really brutally honest with yourself. What do you want? If you want to thin out, if you want to downsize your home and get rid of some of this clutter, you have to want it,” she said.

From there, she recommends recruiting friends or family members to help discard or donate items. Cabinets and closets are always a good place to begin chipping away at the mess, she said.

Hall’s approach to tackling these heaps echoes the philosophy of tidying expert Marie Kondo, who asks her declutterers to dispose of items that don’t “spark joy” for its owner.

“For me, the key has always been to make peace with the items I’m letting go of,” Hall said. “I hold it, and I look at it and I say, ‘Do I like you? Yes, I do, but do I love you? No, I don’t.’ And if I don’t absolutely love it and cherish it, I take a picture of it and I let it go.”

sunset and palm tree view from my yard

Sunset view at home.

Have you decluttered during the pandemic or made a move? How do you handle the stress of deciding to let go of your worldly possessions?