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Why Am I Saving This?

Why Am I Saving This?

get organized with creative space organizing

Storage lockers are notorious hiding places

Saving things is a natural behavior for humans. We save paper, magazines, clothes, photos, love letters, sports memorabilia, records/CDs, our children’s artwork, documents, and so much more. What do we need to save? What is truly important to save? Why do we feel compelled to save things in the first place?

Living in a physical world, we are surrounded by things made up of millions of atoms and particles that form the things we touch and feel. Things in and of themselves have no inherent value or meaning. It’s only what we ascribe to them that makes something meaningful, thus something we want to keep. There was a time in human history when, living a nomadic existence, we had the clothes on our back, a few items, and rudimentary tools and weapons. Fast forward to our sedentary lifestyles where homes have gotten bigger and bigger, giving us room to accumulate more and more things. Add in the advent of cheaper products from China and SE Asia and we can justify buying more stuff at cheaper prices. We can further justify buying it, knowing that it won’t last, that when it breaks, we can buy a new one and throw the other one “away,” wherever away is.

One of the biggest illusions I am repeatedly confronted with is the “Someday Syndrome.” “Someday I will use this.” “Someday I will make something out of this.” “Someday I will wear this.” And on and on. If we ascribe to the Buddhist belief that the only time we have is right now, then someday is an illusion. It will never come. Yes, we may use the box of craft supplies and ribbons for a project. We may pull out the old books and reread them. We may wear a specific article of clothing that hasn’t seen the light of day in 5 years. And then again, we may not.

So why do we do this? It’s partially do with the inability to make a decision. It’s partially because we have ascribed meaning to that item that makes it hard to depart with it. Those of us who have inherited items from deceased family members find it even harder to let go of these items for now they are infiltrated with the memories of mom, dad, grandparents and the like.

So what can we do? How can we deal with our things so we own them and not vice versa. Photographing said items gives us the image of the item without it taking up precious space. It frees us of the emotional bond and allows us to be present to what is happening in the here and now. We need honesty with what it is we keep so we can let the rest go. We have too much stuff and less and less place to keep it. Give dates to things. Pack a box of items you aren’t sure about. If you haven’t opened it in 6 months to a year, give directly away. Make decisions about clothing, books, magazines, arts/crafts supplies, former professions and hobbies and be honest with yourself. Put expiration dates on things with deadlines and when they expire and you haven’t used them, get rid of them. Free your mind and  your physical and emotional space for living with more joy, peace of mind and vitality. Call Creative Space Organizing at 510.501.1213, serving Oakland, Contra Costa, Marin, SF and the East Bay.