Re-evaluating Your Stuff

Last week I talked about the need to re-decide what you want in your life.  When you add an additional stress in your life such as cancer, it’s important that you re-look at all aspects of your life and ensure they are still serving you.

This week I want to follow up with a focus on how to do that for the things in your home. Ironically, it was while my husband was working on cleaning out the storage area under our home that he first started experiencing the symptoms of what we came to discover was a brain tumor. I say ironic because while all our stuff was causing us a headache figuratively, it was was also manifesting in a very literal way. Now, I don’t believe it was just our excess stuff that caused him cancer, but the stress of it certainly was a contributor.

Why Getting Rid Of The Stuff You Don’t Want Is Important

The space you live in is a reflection of what is going on in your mind. This is not to say that if your home is orderly, your mind is orderly.  It is true that if your home is full of things that are outdated, broken, or no longer useful this adds an extra burden and stress in your life.  Even if those things are tucked away in closets, garages, and storage areas. All our stuff requires our attention in some way; maintenance, cleaning, picking up and putting away…  This adds extra stress because it takes time and energy away from areas where our time is better spent. Today on a podcast I heard it explained beautifully by Shira Gill, a professional organizer.  She said, we have reached a point where “our physical possessions have become more suffocating than liberating” ( If this is true for you as it is for most people, then you need to pay attention because our excess stuff does impact our health.

How To Deal With The Overwhelming Task

Many of you are feeling overwhelmed right now just thinking about this.  You are probably thinking of all the areas of in home that need to be cleansed – where to start! How do I take the time? The answer is you change how you think about it. You don’t need to cleanse your whole house all at once to reap the rewards and begin to de-clutter your mind.  You just need to pick one drawer, set a timer for 30 minutes, and take action.

How To Do It

  1. Pick a drawer (kitchen drawer, desk drawer, bathroom drawer, dresser drawer)
  2. Set a timer 15-30 min
  3. Take everything out so you can see it all in one place
  4. Ask yourself these questions:
    1. Is it serving me?
    2. Do I love it/use it? If its outdated or broken, then get rid of it or replace it!
    3. Would I buy this again?
  5. Thank it (seriously) and say goodbye
  6. Donate or throw it away – do not try to sell it no matter how valuable. This will simply slow you down and is not worth the extra energy.  You need to keep this part simple or you will get mired down in overwhelm.

Thanking And Saying Goodbye

Sometimes we are so afraid to let go of something. We’re afraid we’ll regret it or we might need it again.  Or maybe we feel like it will be wasteful to get rid of something that is still perfectly good. All of these are thoughts borne out of fear and scarcity.  So instead, we hold on to things we don’t need or don’t use just to avoid these emotions. This is where it’s important to create closure in our relationship with our stuff by thanking it for what it gave us, how it served us in the past, what it taught us, and then say goodbye. This process will allow you to acknowledge your past relationship with that item and bring closure to it. Closure will allow you to be open to new relationships. I remember doing this with a sewing machine I bought. It was my first sewing machine, but wasn’t of very good quality and kept getting jammed.  My mom gave me her much better quality sewing machine and I no longer needed or wanted the other one. Still, I was reluctant to part with it. It felt like parting with an old friend. So I thanked it for its service to me and let it go. Now, I have a new relationship with a much better sewing machine and have never looked back!

Creating Space

When you get rid of the stuff you no longer use or love, you create space in your life. Space is a beautiful thing because it opens our minds up to new possibilities.  Don’t be afraid to have empty drawers or empty shelves. Enjoy it and wait for just that right thing that you love to come into your life.

Things People Give You

Remember, the caring comes in the act of giving, not the thing itself.  Don’t feel obligated to keep things you were given if you don’t truly love them. Getting rid of something you were given but don’t love is no not a reflection of your relationship.  If you donate it, it can then go to someone who truly wants it. This is so freeing!

But I Might Need It!

I occasionally like to do crafts.  With our house, we inherited several cans of paint and spray paint from the previous owner.  Additionally, from various craft projects of my own, I had probably 40 cans of spray paint stored under our house.  My husband was about to get rid of them all when I violently protested – I might use those! It seemed so wasteful! But he argued that if I really needed one again, I could spend the $4 for a new can.  I agreed and I will tell you I’ve never looked back. The truth is, because I had so many cans it was overwhelming and I wasn’t doing any crafts and using any of them! So while we think we don’t want to be wasteful, we are really just wasting the potential creativity in our minds by filling our lives with too much stuff! 

If you are dealing with cancer in your life, then addressing your excess stuff is really an important step.  By clearing out the clutter from your home, you will begin to clear the clutter from your brain. You need all your mental capacity to deal with your life, your family, and your husband’s cancer.  

Don’t just read this – take action today! Pick one drawer, set a timer and get busy!  It will honestly make a huge difference!

Some great resources:

The Life Coach School Podcast Episode #128 – Minimalism

Marie Kondo’s book: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

One thought on “Re-evaluating Your Stuff

  1. For me it’s my desk and nightstand. Everything that doesn’t have an official storage location ends up on one of those two places and they are always a mess. Good points here about cluttered spaces and thier effects on the mind. I’ve battled my wife’s packrat tendencies for 10 years. Maybe I need Coach Marika and family over for dinner to discuss in more detail. 🙂

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