What to save and how to know what to get rid of

What to Save and How to Know What to get Rid Of

Organizing the homes and lives of clients for over 11 years, I come across many of the same questions. One of the most common struggles I hear is “What do I save and what do I get rid of?” There is a common misconception that purging is equivalent to being wasteful or irresponsible in case you need that item again in the future. In reality, the mistake is often purchasing the item in the first place. More often than not, our purchases are motivated by emotional impulses, which we attempt to justify with logic after the fact.

Our homes are full of items that do not bring us quality of life or purpose. We are instead left feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

  1. We get stressed with the quantity of items in our home.
  2. We make more work for ourselves by having to find homes or to clean around all of our stuff.
  3. We can’t find the things that truly bring fulfillment because the impulse buying takes over what’s important.

So what do we do now?

In order to clear our minds and relieve our stress loads, we must make intentional decisions to rid our home of those unnecessary items that do not bring purpose or joy to our lives. Minimalism is not only physically freeing, it can lead to incredible mental clarity and peace.

Where do we start?

Begin with one space at a time. Organizing and purging for the first time can be a time-consuming and overwhelming endeavor. Pick a space that you use everyday. Clearing out a frequently utilized area of the home will not only provide maximum gratification, it will motivate you to continue the process in other areas as well.

How do I know what to get rid of?

Ask yourself intentional questions.

  1. Does this bring value/ improve my home or family?
  2. How often do I use this?
  3. When was the last time I used this?
  4. What is the purpose of keeping this? 

One of the most challenging categories to sort through is memorabilia. I love this quote from Brené Brown, in her book Atlas of the Heart:

 “If you put all of my memorabilia together, you would get the most accurate story of who I was and what I valued at any one point in my life and wouldn’t need more than a standard size dining room table to lay it all out.”

Brené Brown, in her book Atlas of the Heart

When it comes to memorabilia, we typically keep items in order to:

  1. Pass it down to a family member
  2. Share your story
  3. Look back on to reminisce

What many fail to realize is that when we pass down too many items to a family member, we are burdening them with the responsibility and time-consuming commitment of sorting, organizing, managing, and storing all of those items. And when these items are passed down from generation to generation, the idea of having to sort through decades of memories becomes too overwhelming to tackle. Most items end up staying boxed up, never to see the light of day.

When wondering what to save and what to get rid of, consider these things. Be honest with yourself. Ask intentional questions to not only narrow down the current purpose of the item, but think about the future and whether the item will bring value or end up in a pile of clutter for someone else to sort. Remember, you can’t take it with you! 

Emily Grindell
Emily Grindell

Mar 18, 2024 • 3 mins read