Hey I wonder what would happen if we had National Crap Collection Day! Imagine an annual day where the key focus was on letting go of all our physical crap so we could make room for LIVING in the spaces we call home!
I work with people every day who struggle to let go of history and no more is it seen than in our garages, closets and in some cases...entire homes.
I know your particular form of crap isn't crap at all! Of course! It's precious memories, places you've been, photos you will most certainly look at again in, oh, say, fifteen years, but at least you know they're there right?!
The interesting thing about every object we have around us is that it is impossible for it NOT to effect us in some way. It is scientifically proven all matter, matters! Regardless of whether it hides in a closet or clutters the living and dining room, it is subconsciously causing us to feel something and it is important to know what these feelings are. Why? Because how cluttered or uncluttered you live in your own space determines how restful, peaceful and happy your life will be.
This is not to say everyone should live as a ZEN MINIMALIST. I am however sharing years of experience working as a coach for people in business, the arts and interior decorating; and I have seen the power of letting go of the stuff which is no longer useful TODAY.
Letting go of our possessions can, and does for many people represent letting go of the stories and history we believed made us who we are today. And WHAT IF we need it next year and we had one of those what-aya-call-its but we ditched it?!! Unless you have that what-aya-call-it filed clearly and in some organised, aesthetically pleasing way today, it will cost you more in the time you spend searching for it in your garage than it would cost you to buy a new one! And it is rare!
Step 1: Start with the space that causes least stress to let go of and/or the space that you are most aware of being 'in the way'. If your lover just left you for the younger version...decide if reclaiming the whole closet feels cathartic or adds to your misery. The goal is to make room for YOU and the way you really want to live. Clearing can be gradual so be kind to yourself! It should feel good at the end of your crap clearing day!! So if you have to shuffle shi... stuff daily to get to what you want or need, that's not living, that's working!
Step 2: Love It, Use It or Let It Go If you don't love it - that is you don't want to look at it almost daily if not at least weekly, OR if you don't use it at least monthly, you probably don't need it. Of course there will be exceptions. But most top designers will tell you Rule One in good design is this: beauty (naturally in the eye of the beholder) and functionality are key factors in making a space which feels right to the people who will occupy it.
Step 3: Organise & Reshuffle This is the fun part to me. I know it's not for everyone but there is something about now having room to make things aesthetically pleasing that floats my boat. If this isn't your thing get help! File the papers, keep things in clean lines, create little stories and settings. If you kept grandma's old photos, display them in one space where you can sit and bask in the memories!