Top Ten Tips, #7 Is It Useful or Beautiful?

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Today’s tip is also geared towards helping you work through the purging process.  It’s quite simple, but often the simplest techniques are the most powerful.  If you come upon an item that you’re just not sure whether to keep, ask yourself this question:

Is it useful or beautiful?

If the answer is no, it’s time for that item to leave your home.  Now, the answer to the question may be, yes, this item is useful – so I encourage you to take it one step further – is this item useful to me (or your family, if that applies)? When was the last time we used this item? In reality, when will we really use this item again?

There’s plenty of stuff floating around out there that is definitely useful, but maybe it’s not useful to you anymore.  For example, say you’re kids are all over the age of five now, you’re not planning to have any more children, but you’re still hanging on to boxes of baby clothes.  So yes, these items are useful, but not to you.  Time to let them be useful for someone else.

Asking if the item is beautiful really just means is it something that you absolutely love.  Is this something you would display in your home?  Does it lift up your energy, or does it stir up negative emotions like guilt, anxiety, fear, or worry when you see or touch it? Take a clue from your gut emotional reaction to an item and you’ll know right away whether you should get rid of it or not. Even if you do love an item, it’s worth taking a bit of time to see if there aren’t some negative emotions attached to it.

Example: I used to have this beautiful real crystal candy dish my ex-boyfriend bough for me while he was traveling abroad. I did love it, and it was beautiful, but after we broke up, every time I looked at it it made me think of the horrible breakup we had had. But I was intent on keeping it, thinking I might at least be able to get some money for it later.  So I packed it up and it moved with me at least five times over the course of about five years.  It always stayed in the box, I didn’t pull it out or display it. When I finally was ready to let go, I didn’t try to sell it, even though it probably was worth a fair amount of money, I just donated it.  When you’re ready to leave the past behind, sometimes the best way to let go is to stop worrying about how much money you could get for the item and just donate it.

Tip #7 Action Challenge:

Jump into sorting another small area of your home today – it can be just one drawer in your kitchen if you’re pressed for time.  If you’re coming upon items you’re not sure about, ask yourself our two questions for today:  Is it useful or is it beautiful?

Holistic Professional Organizer and Clutter Coach at Synergy Organizing, LLC

©Synergy Organizing 2012

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