Step 1: Separate Your Emotions From the Object
While trying to purge an item remember how it made us feel when we first bought it and used it. It wraps itsself around our hearts and refuses to let go. Separate your feelings. If it's not art you've hung/displayed or heirlooms, purge!
Example: I had a bikini top I couldn't bring myself to donate. I'd lost the bottom and outgrown it, but it recalled carefree early college times with friends. In the end, it's just a stupid piece of cloth! Out it went!
Step 2: Realize We Use STUFF as an Impermanent Solution for A Primal Physical Need
"Advertising is based on one thing, happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay." - Donald Draper, Mad Men
Remembering I don't want the item, but what it PROMISES keeps me from buying Stuff I don't need.
Example: I'm not letting myself buy new clothes until I've hit my weight loss goal. I realize it's not the clothes I want, but the healthier, toned body I feel the clothing will project. I'd rather invest in healthy food than buy a new dress as a temporary fix. Same with organizing supplies: it's not the supplies I want, it's an organized life! I'd rather purge items so I don't need additional organizers to hold them than buy the false solution.
Step 3: Keep Only the Best and NONE of the Rest
Same bookshelf above AFTER! I downsized my books to one shelf, now I have "white space"!
Now that you understand your psychological dependence on Stuff, detach! Do this slowly, I stress this because I often try to do it all at once and end up with a big house-mess for a week. Don't keep a static item because you'll "use it later" when you haven't touched it in a year or longer. Kill that clutter!
Step 4: Make New Rules and Priorities, Don't Budge on Them
My new priority is buying ONLY high quality merchandise/supplies as needed for reselling and blogging and healthy, delicious fruits, veggies, nuts, and supplements. Rules to keep my house clutter free include listing new merchandise IMMEDIATELY after it comes in and making my purging cycle routine.
I feel amazing in this dress, but I shouldn't need a dress to feel amazing. Don't let Stuff fill emotional voids!
Step 5: Continue The Cycle, and Enjoy Your New Clutter-Free Life
It's heaven to reach into a drawer and pull out exactly what you need without searching! Live with only what you use and love and you won't look back! Continue the cycle by evaluating what's around that you're not using as you go about your day and purging the unnecessary bits. Move things out when you move new things in.
Kill The Lust: When my Stuff Lust demands sweaty satisfaction I remember the steps in this post to keep my life sane! I'd love to read your thoughts....
How do you keep Stuff from taking over? What steps to do you take to purge or declutter?