It took me about a year to give away and sell 50% of my stuff. That first big-give gave me the courage, confidence and desire to let go of even more. Way more. It wasn’t always easy, but absolutely worth the effort.
If you want to experience all the benefits of a clutter-free life, 50% is a great place to start. It sounds extreme, but once you start moving from room to room and removing the things that don’t matter and that you don’t care about, you’ll reach the half way point sooner than you think. You can probably do an initial sweep and box up 10-15% of your stuff and not even notice it’s missing. The next round might be a little tougher, but the lightness you feel from the first pass will motivate you to keep going.
Banish Your Biggest Fears about Giving Away 50%
- I’m afraid I won’t know what to give away or where to start. You won’t know until you start, so just start. Walk through your home with a small box and fill it with meaningless objects that you are tired of dusting. Give the box away. Repeat.
- I’m afraid I will buy everything back. When you are faced with empty shelves and rooms, you might be afraid that you will want to fill the space up again. It’s ok to feel that, but instead of giving in, sit with the empty space. Think about how you would rather spend your money and time. Let the empty space give you permission to decide what you really want out of life. It probably isn’t more stuff.
- I’m afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Giving away things that were important to other people might be hurtful. Have meaningful conversations about why you want to declutter. Offer to return things if that is appropriate. Be kind and gentle but firm in your commitment to live with less. People love you for you. If they love you for what you keep or don’t keep, rethink the relationship.
- I’m afraid I might forget the past. Your stuff tells a story and letting it go might feel a little bit like letting go of who you are. Write your story or photograph your stuff that makes up that story before you give it away. Holding onto it prevents you from living and writing new stories. You are not your stuff.
- I’m afraid I might need something just in case. Box up your most important just in case items and put them in an unmarked box for 30 days. If you don’t need it, and especially if you don’t remember what it is, give it away without looking in the box. You need less than you think.
- I’m afraid that I will realize how much time and money I’ve wasted. If this is your fear, you’ve already realized it and faced it. Don’t waste one more second or dollar on stuff that you don’t care about it. If you don’t give it away now, you will continue to spend time and money on things only because you feel bad about buying it in the first place. Stop it.
- I’m afraid that giving it away before it is “used up” is environmentally irresponsible. Chances are there is more life to your stuff, and it is just as likely that someone else needs it more than you do. You don’t have to throw your stuff in a landfill. Instead, research organizations that will get your stuff in the right hands or read 101 Places Your Clutter can do Good.
- I’m afraid people will judge me or think I am weird. What someone else thinks about you is not who you are. Surround yourself with people who support you and lift you up. People will think you are weird. That’s ok.
50% of your stuff is less than you think. You can get there without counting too. Take a picture of a the rooms in your home. Don’t forget the storage spaces. After a few rounds of decluttering, take new pictures and compare. Once 50% is gone, you will have more information to decide if less is better. If it is, try another 50%.
Why you should give away 50% of your stuff …
- Give away 50% of your stuff and give the most important things a chance to rise to the surface.
- Give away 50% of your stuff and discover mental clarity to choose how you really want to live your life.
- Give away 50% of your stuff so you can live in a smaller space.
- Give away 50% of your stuff so you discover that you are not your stuff.
- Give away 50% of your stuff because it will never love you back.
The real eye opener for me was when I couldn’t remember most of the things I gave away. I’ve never searched for something that I didn’t keep or felt like I made a mistake giving things away. I’ve learned that living with less is a blessing and not a sacrifice.