One of the ways that the psychologists in the Wall Street Journal article help people is to get them to understand that most of their hoarding comes from emotional instability. Once you’re able to figure out that you’re living your life based on your emotions about the past, what is the next course of action? As stated, two of the bigger emotions triggered by the decision to let go of your old stuff are anxiety and guilt.
A way to diminish them is to think about who could put your stuff to better use. Jennifer, profiled in the Wall Street Journal, could think about how an impoverished single mother with a newborn could put her old bassinet to use better than she can as it sits in storage. That way, she would be much more likely to get rid of this bassinet for a good cause.
Donating your old stuff instead of simply throwing it away is a great rationalization that the mind tends to be more comfortable with. Sure, this can sometimes be easier said than done if the old thing is attached to you in a deeply emotional way, but you’ll find that the more often you do this, the easier it will become. This brings us to another notion that is big within the minimalist community: letting go is powerfully freeing. When we decide to let go of our stuff, we are at the same time emotionally indicating to ourselves that it’s time to move on.
When we let go of these feelings, we make room for more important and present emotions to replace the old ones that we’ve been hoarding inside of us. It’s not enough to simply get rid of your old or outdated stuff because you no longer use it; you should also figure out what this possession represents, so that you can come to terms with the emotional part that it’s playing in your life. This will help you to better understand yourself and your relationship with your external world.
You may be surprised to find that you know less about how you interact with your things than you thought you did. This too will provide you with mental clarity and understanding. The information that was presented in this post is subtle in the sense that not everyone who is interested in a minimalist life is pursuing it for these reasons; however, being aware of this information will be helpful as you move through the intricacies of minimalist living. Remember, when you hold onto something there is usually a meaning why. If it held no personal value, you would be able to easily throw it away without a second thought.
Key Highlights from this Chapter
* Understand how you perceive and interact with your possessions.
* The current climate within the culture of organizational psychology.
* Why understanding how clutter influences your emotions is essential to the broader minimalist goal of letting go of the past.
* How donating your stuff instead of simply throwing it away will cushion the emotional impact of minimizing the stuff that you own.