All of us (myself included), have things that we hold on to for reasons that seem sound enough in our heads when actually they are simply excuses to put off making a concrete decision. Those limitless reasons can be agonizing. It is only when we are real with ourselves that the true reason comes into focus.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s consider a once-favorite, indispensible pair of shoes. I had a pair in college. They were black leather loafers with a silver buckle. They were a little preppy, a little funky, and absolutely perfect! In a shoe relationship, they were a BFF. Well, as all BFF shoes do, they wore out. I no longer wore them yet kept them in my closet as a type of security blanket.
I would put them on every so often before quickly taking them off knowing they passed their prime; yet in my closet they remained. I thought, “How long should I keep a pair of shoes that were once treasured and no longer useful?” For me, it was about two years. In all honesty, that is about 18 months too long. So, one day I asked myself, “What is the worst thing that would happen if these shoes would be gone forever?” The answer is: nothing.
The answers to questions like these are different for each person. As a rule, six months is a reasonable amount of time to decide if a pair of shoes will ever be worn again, twelve months at the most. If you relocate during that period, the decision may come more quickly. So, when you go through the process of determining what to keep and what to share, these are the questions you should ask yourself. The questions aren’t nearly as important as the honest answers.
Have I used this item in the past year?
Will I need it on a definite date in the future?
Do I need to keep it for legal or tax purposes?
(If you answer NO to any of these questions, let it go.)
What useful purpose does it serve in my life?
What is the worst thing that could happen if it were gone?
Does it make me happy?
As I have said before, and I will say it again, everything in your space should make you happy on some level.
These set of questions will help you get started but one basic fact remains…if you aren’t ready to part with it, don’t. Revisit the item again in six months and ask yourself the same set of questions.
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