How Letting Go of Junk Can Change Your Living Room and Your Life

We are surrounded by stuff — cool stuff, weird stuff, memorable stuff, all of which is part of our culture. But often times, material possessions can weigh us down, taking up space, attention, and finances that could usually be better utilized. Getting rid of stuff you don’t actually need is really the first major step toward an organized — and simpler — life. 

There are several schools of thought that touch on this idea. The Buddhists believe that a cause of suffering is the attachment to changing things, which includes material goods. Everything falls apart, and the happiness we gain from a new toy diminishes quickly until we get another fleeting ‘spike’ of purchasing joy.

But you don’t have to be a Buddhist monk to see this pattern. Many contemporary folks are recognizing that they lead much happier lives when adopting a minimalist lifestyle – cultivating rich experiences in place of acquiring many possessions.

So while there clearly can be many benefits to getting rid of unnecessary stuff — whether you just want refurbished closet space or a refurbished approach to life — it is really difficult to change habits and part with some of your things. Below is a method I call the “Three I’s” which can help break apart this process into manageable pieces.

Identify Attachments

Figure out why you are attached to things in your house to determine what’s worth getting rid of. You will typically find that you still have something for one of the reasons below. If you come across something that doesn’t fulfill any one of these categories, then that’s an easy decision. But there are definitely things that skirt the edges.
  • Practical - the item serves a useful purpose
Take stock of how often you actually use it. If it’s rarely to never, then you can probably part with it.
  • Financial - the item was expensive 
See if you can sell it. If money is the only reason you keep it around, it probably isn’t adding any value to your life.
  • Emotional - the item is associated with a memory
This is the trickiest kind of attachment. See if there is another way to remember the event (through photos, etc.). Or sometimes a fresh reassessment of whether you need to memorialize this event at all will reveal some new unburdened, feelings.

Isolate Your Values

After you have sorted through your things and your attachments to them, reflect on what you actually value most in your life. Whether its a hobby, an activity, or a certain person, you can refocus your investment in material goods associated with that important part of your life. For instance, if you are an avid cook, then you should allow yourself to have more kitchen items that will foster this passion. 

Improve Future Habits

Once you’ve culled your belongings and figured out what you value most, you can keep these ideas in mind for keeping an organized life.

  • Save money towards an experience
By setting a goal to work towards like a vacation, an adventure, or a concert, you will do a better job at saving money and avoiding useless junk in pursuit of your new experience.

  • Look for Quality over Quantity
Ask whether the item you are about to purchase adds quality rather than quantity to your life, especially within the category that you discovered in the second step you find most valuable.

  • Create a 48-hour purchase rule
Avoid impulsive purchases by waiting 48 hours until you buy something new. If you really need it, then you will still see its value two days after initially discovering it. You would be surprised just how many wasteful purchases this one habit can help you avoid.

By following these steps, you can overcome that initial hurdle of too much stuff standing in the way of a more organized, simplified life.

Guest Blogger: Joe Weidman

About Joe: As the founder and owner of, Joe's expertise is finding creative, efficient, and safe solutions to junk removal projects big and small. Feel free to contact him via email and follow on Facebook.

Site design by Ryan G. Wilson Amy Trager, © 2006-2015