We hold onto things for a variety of reasons, primarily the item’s perceived value to us. It can be emotional, monetary, or a relic of time.
Years ago, my husband (then boyfriend) spotted a pair of Nike tube socks I still had from high school. I kept them forever because they were 100% cotton and I couldn't find anything like them anymore. I was so proud that they didn't even have any holes. He couldn't believe I still had them but for a different reason. He said "they aren't even remotely white anymore, they are gray". And honestly until he pointed that out, I couldn't see them for what they had become: Gross
My clients who have trouble letting go are often looking through this same lens. They remember how it was in all it's glory rather than it's current state. The fear of letting it go is generally less about the object and most often about a memory tied to it or simply the passage of time.
In a monetary sense, we often hold onto items because of how much they cost us. That expensive purse that you have hidden in the closet no longer holds the same value price as it did when you first purchased it. We may hang onto it because it was costly, but if you are not using it, it is not valuable to you.
Occasionally, we may also attempt to recoup our costs, perhaps by selling the item online. One has to consider the amount of time put into this—from taking pictures and posting it online, monitoring the web page, agreeing with a potential buyer, packing the item, taking it to the post office, and paying for shipping—it adds up quickly. It must be considered if all the effort is worth it.
The money was gone as soon as you spent it. When we purchase items, it is similar to placing a bet: maybe it will work out, maybe it won’t. If it isn’t something that serves you, it is best to get it out of your space and into someone else’s life who it would better serve. While reselling your items is not bad, it takes more of your time in regards to something you are trying to separate yourself from. Be aware and mindful of what you bring in, as well as how you get it out.
Finally, some of our items are simply relics of time. We hold onto them because of how old they are and what that could potentially mean—grandmother’s dresses, your father’s watch, or perhaps something even older than that. Hold onto these items because you love them, you look at them often, you use them, and because they bring you happiness. If they are stuffed in a closet, hidden within boxes, or are put away for a “someday”, they are not serving you. They can, however, serve someone else.
Remember that by maintaining your beautiful space and the items in it can transform your life. It's quite powerful. This week, I challenge you to look around your home or office and see what items serve you, and which simply take up room. Once you free that space, only more beauty can come in.