Managing The Guilt Of Throwing Things Away
I was raised in a household where you finish what’s on your plate before you’re excused from the table. In many black homes, it’s unacceptable to throw away perfectly good food at dinner. There’s no, “I’m not hungry” or “I don’t like it.” Being wasteful is not an option. This rule isn’t for food alone. There’s always a little more lotion in the bottle, more toothpaste to squeeze out, and one more wear out of those shoes.
We pride ourselves on our resourcefulness. This same pride has many homes cluttered to capacity with worn out clothes, broken kitchenware, expired canned goods and unflattering décor all for the sake of “not being wasteful.” While one generation is holding onto everything, another is desperately trying to let it all go but struggle with the process. Many of our parents’ and grandparents’ ability to make a dollar stretch is what created many opportunities for us younger generations. For that, I say thank you mom and dad.
But what has also been the result of this non-wasteful mentality? Frugality for some, guilt for others, and a little bit of both for many. Frugality can be a wonderful solution to combat financial hardship or to improve spending habits, but the guilt is what gets us into trouble. Guilt and shame for not being appreciative, not counting your blessings, and you’ll keep what you have because at least you have it.
“Maybe someone could use it?”
“I can fix it.”
“It’s still good.”
“I don’t use it but someone gave it to me.”
“I don’t use it but it’s perfectly new.”
Let’s think for a minute. Who else are you keeping your things for?
It’s your home, your space, and all that matters is this:
Your things can be useful and have purpose to someone, but that person is not you.
The need to be overly resourceful served a previous generation in their survival but is now overwhelming us. Cluttering our closets, drawers and everything in between. It is no surprise minimalism has recently been the answer to so many.
Declutter Your Home Guilt Free
If you’ve concluded you have an abundance of things that don’t make your life easier or better, then decluttering is next on your list.
When people are decluttering, they’re eager to replace the items with something tangible. Although during the decluttering process, you’re gaining many intangible values: concentration, clarity, and increased self-esteem (to name a few). It’s understandable to want something in exchange for your possessions. Outside of the many gifts to yourself, the exchange could be a gift to someone else. There are many people living without, while others are drowning in more than they desire. Take time to find causes in your community that could benefit from your unwanted items. This gift is greater than any dollar amount that would’ve been gained.
Keep What’s Valuable
Losing something is daunting. Once we let go there’s more time, more space, and more opportunity to discover more of who we are and what’s important to us. You’re not robbing yourself or being unappreciative for what you’ve acquired. You’re doing the exact opposite. You’re deciding what’s valuable to your life and ridding yourself of what’s not. That is a gift you deserve, even if things go to waste in the process.
** Live in the Atlanta, GA area? Here’s a list of great organizations in need of your clutter http://www.feelfreeclub.com/donatewithpurpose/
Melissa Harris, professional organizer, mother, freedom seeker and owner of The Feel Free Club, a minimalist organizing company based in Atlanta, Ga. Melissa’s soul mission is to live more, with less to do, less to think about and less to manage. You can catch her dishing out organizing tips on Feel Free TV or sharing honest motherhood moments on her blog or IG.