Downsizing? Why is parting with our stuff so hard?
You’ve lived in your home for several years and over that time you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff.
Some of it you have an emotional connection to, and some of it you don’t. Yet even the stuff that has no utility or emotional attachment seems tough to part with. If you’re struggling to clear things out, you’re not alone. One theory in regards to the psychology of letting go is called the endowment effect, which means basically that once you claim ownership of an object, it becomes ours and it’s much harder to let go of. And it’s not just with large objects or possessions that have value like cars or homes. This can actually take place with small items that have no emotional or dollar value.
Research has shown that we may place value on things because they become an extension of ourselves, or, if they were a gift, then an extension of the person who gave it. Letting go of the item can feel like an abandonment of sorts. However, what might feel more appropriate is to consider the value of the memory it created and not the physical item itself.
When you decide to tackle that overfilling closet or bedroom that’s now become the junk room or, in my case, the catch-all room, start by sorting everything into two categories: the stays and the goes. Don’t have a maybe pile. One of the best tests that I use when I look at an object is, “Does this object give me joy?” And if it does, then it stays. If it doesn’t, then it goes.
The second big challenge is what to do with all the stuff in the goes pile. Fortunately, there are several great options in the Seattle area for donating. Get in contact with us and we will give you a list of places to donate to. Some will even pick it up.
Aside from donating to local charities, you could also sell your items. We don’t recommend Craiglist, but there are other online avenues that are more neighborhood-focused such as OfferUp or of course your local Facebook Buy Nothing group. For items that are more of a collector item or that have more value, there are companies that specialize in selling things for you.
Think of us as a resource. We are here to help in any way we can.