6 Kinds Of Stuff That Keeps You Stuck

When people come to my Sick of Being Stuck (SOBS) class, they are ready to make a big change. They aren’t looking for the “just right” organizing system, or to buy a planner that will magically restore their sanity. (Not that they hate those ideas, they’ve just tried them all before, and those things didn’t solve the problem.) They are stuck, and they are sick of it; and they know it’s going to take action to make right what has gone wrong in their worlds.

I tell them all the time that SOBS is about manipulating ourselves into making decisions and taking action. My job, of course, is to make the decision-making possible and taking action not suck. It’s a supportive, party-like atmosphere complete with fresh, new ways to consider our relationship with stuff.

We look for things that no longer serve us, ways to let go that will make space for what we really want in our lives. In the spirit of what is working brilliantly in the classroom, here are six types of things that you can release right now to shake up your space!

1. Stuff that makes you crazy. Food storage containers, for the love of all things glittery, must be tamed. They’re square and round, deep and shallow, ripple- and flat-bottomed, and possess a nearly complete absence of stack-ability. The madness of trying to manage them far outweighs anything even remotely resembling the convenience that would be using them if only we could actually find their matching lids. All but what is truly manageable must go… in peace, of course.

2. Stuff that’s broken. If you’re not going to fix it, let it go. It’s either worth the time, money, and energy it takes to make it work, or it just isn’t. Free it, and free yourself.

3. Stuff that makes you hang onto an unpleasant past. A hundred years ago, when I was separating the material evidence of my first marriage into his and hers, I took the children’s movies (as I was going to be the one with the children), my few romantic comedies, and all of the Will Smith and John Travolta movies (a marital-dissolution rebellion that, in hindsight, seems rather lame). They sat on the top shelf of a bookcase in that breathtakingly yellow bedroom at my mom’s house, alongside the rest of my worldly possessions. Every day, as I walked back and forth tending my babies and trying to figure out what in the hell I was going to do now, I thought, “Those are the movies I got in the divorce.” Finally, after a couple of months, I realized that having that thought a few dozen times every day was probably not helping me. I gave them back… and moved on.

4. Stuff that’s expired. In my Sick of Being Stuck class, the expiration date purge is one of the most fun challenges. It’s crazy how easily expired medicines and food can build up. Take a look in your bathroom cabinet, refrigerator, and pantry. I bet you’ll be surprised how much is in there that you’re not even seeing anymore. (If you have food that you’re not going to use that isn’t yet expired, go ahead and donate it to the food bank before it’s too late!)

5. Stuff that sucks. Look for everything else you have around that just isn’t showing up in the world the way you want or need it to. “Goodbye, cleaning supplies that don’t clean! Out with the hair products that make my hair do the opposite of what I desire! See you later, yarn that I purchased before I found out that yarn can feel oh-so-much better than you feel! And to those pants that actually do make my butt look bigger than it is… time for you to move along!”

6. Stuff that used to be a good idea. This might be the supplies for the craft project for which you have lost the thrill, or exercise equipment you just had to have but don’t actually use. It could be that charming little shoot of bamboo that the cats can’t bear to let grow, or that slinky little dress you bought after the last breakup that simply isn’t suitable for public appearances.

Look for things that no longer serve you and ways to let go that will make space for what you truly¬†want in your lives. Start with these 6 simple categories for a surefire way to shake up your space… and your life!
A new Sick of Being Stuck class begins soon. Visit SickofBeingStuck.com for more information.

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Carla van der Meer

Thanks for the info.

Huber F.
Huber F.2 years ago


Dorothy A.
Dorothy A.3 years ago

It's time to clean out my desk! This article is very helpful. I should read it monthly to remind myself not to stick things in drawers and closets, but to throw, give or recycle them.

Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson3 years ago

Thanks great hints here that I will go through. I have a few things that I can happily let go of.

Alyssa Riley
Alyssa Riley3 years ago

I still want all of my things haha, im pretty organized and usually get to things eventually though so I guess its alright

Vero Gall
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks for another good article Christy. For me the categories were not new, but some of the ideas about what fits into them is. Got me thinking just in time too since this will be a long weekend. Wish all of Care2's writers were of your quality and had the practical aspects that your articles usually have.

Julie H.
Julie Hoffman3 years ago

great article

Jennifer C.
Past Member 3 years ago


Nancy B.
N B.3 years ago


Emily S.
Emily S.3 years ago