Are the things you hold onto truly treasures or mere things?
Isn’t it interesting how we hold onto our belongings as if we are holding onto life itself?
The idea that something we consider to be so precious to our hearts, can actually be given away, or thrown away for that matter, can feel as if our very last breath has been knocked out of us.
How is it possible then that the things we cling to and find so endearing can actually create pain for us? At what point does our “stuff” no longer feel good to us?
When posed this question, I found that most of my clients had a difficult time distinguishing what’s worth holding onto verses what can be let go.
The operative words here are “letting go.”
In most situations, trying to identify the treasures among all treasures becomes confusing and actually overwhelming. Everything begins to look like one huge treasure chest.
First, I think the most important question to ask yourself is what do you consider your definition of a treasure to be? What constitutes your items being called treasures rather than just stuff?
The next step is to go to the source of the pain. The question now to ask is “where does it hurt?” What things do you have around your home or environment that is creating a sense of disharmony for you?
Thinking along these terms, it’s sometimes easier to identify these hurtful objects by over-personalizing them using the “friend, stranger, acquaintance” game. In “Conquering Chronic Disorganization,” Judith Kolberg writes that “over personalization is the process of exaggerating the feelings that people have for their feelings. The exaggeration of personal feelings acknowledges these feelings and makes it possible for a person to move beyond them.” Using this philosophy, ask yourself, what strangers are looming around your home? And, by the way, what do you consider to be a stranger, anyway? For me, a stranger is someone for whom I have no feelings and in some cases actually can pose harm. So in relation to this, any “things” I have hanging around would be easy for me to dispose of.
Now, getting back to your treasures – how do you see them in comparison to a friend? Are your treasures really friends? For me, friends are there through thick and thin. I want my friends in my life all the time, so they participate in my life. So ask yourself, the things you consider treasures, are you treating them like friends? Do you expose them and are they interacting if your life? If you answered no, maybe the things you consider treasures are really stuff you can reduce to an acquaintance or stranger.
What I love about the friend/stranger/acquaintance game is that you can use this analogy in all aspects of life. I think it can help us really put our “things” into perspective. To the strangers, we can say goodbye; whether this comes in the form of an item, a job, or a relationship that is no longer serving us.
Acquaintances actually can be moved around at times from friend to stranger when appropriate, and we can feel OK about our decision when it’s time to let go.
And our friends, I think we can learn to honor what falls into this category and what warrants this title. If your treasures are truly friends, then bring them out and have fun with them. Your friends deserve your respect to be truly called treasures.
Patricia Diesel, The Organizing Expert, is author of A Simple Guide to an Organized life and CEO of Keep It Simple Now. Patricia provides professional organizing and life coaching to individuals, entrepreneurs, and corporate arenas. Accomplishments, services, merchandise, and additional information about Patricia can be found at http://www.keepitsimplenow.com .