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Why we keep stuff

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Yesterday I reached for a perfume bottle with just a few sprays left in it, and then stopped myself from using it because if I used it, then it would be gone. I had to laugh when I realized that I’ve been doing that very same thing daily for at least a year.

You see, it’s my favorite perfume, I wore it for years. Sadly they quit making it in 2004, and I wasn’t ready to let go of it. In 2007, a client had a bottle of it that she no longer wanted and so she offered it to me (thanks Anne!). I wore it every single day until it got to where it is today…3 squirts from gone.

It got even funnier to me when I started asking myself the very same questions I ask my clients. As I always say, clutter is delayed decisions, and this was definitely a case in point. By forcing myself to really look at the situation and answer some questions, I was able to let it go.

Questions: You didn’t use it because you don’t want it to be gone? If you’re not using it, isn’t it as good as gone already? You’ve been doing that same thing for at least a year now. That bottle has just been sitting there, taking up space. Sue, if it’s as good as gone, why are you keeping it?

Answer: I’m keeping it because I know I can never buy more, and I want to be able to buy more, because I want to wear it everyday. I’m not ready to let go of my favorite perfume, but when I make myself look at it, I’m not even wearing my favorite perfume every day. Silly as it sounds, it was an emotional thing. By asking myself all of the questions, I had to accept that it sitting in my cabinet taking up space wasn’t getting me any closer to my goal of wearing the perfume everyday. so I might as well use the last few squirts, enjoy it and let it go. What things do you need to just let go of?

(In July 2016, I published a book on this very subject. Get your copy of The Truth About Clutter: Why Am I Holding on to This?)

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