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Considering The True Value Of Stuff (Clutter)

The same student had in her stacks of papers booklets, reports, and magazines from organizations that she supported with her time and money in the past. Again, she was stuck because they felt so valuable–the work that went into them, the trees that it took to make them, and the information. Oh yes, the information… Almost every paper stasher I’ve known, has a profound respect for knowledge. We actually want to know all of that stuff. We want to be inspired. We care what these organizations have to say. We strive to learn and grow, to improve ourselves. It’s all very noble but… there is only so much time and so much space and things start to pile up. Soon we’re stuck in the middle of piles of good intentions, too overwhelmed to be who the world needs us to be.

I asked if she knew what all of that stuff really is, and she guessed, “Trash?” We laughed for a moment and then I explained that those things are actually marketing materials. Those companies and organizations don’t send them to us for us, they send them to us for them. Marketing materials help them keep us connected.

Those things come so we will stay engaged in our relationship with them because when they need us–our money, time, or connections–it helps if we feel the hook. Look around, its working. We’re hooked.

So, here’s the reality check: Any information worth knowing will be available on their website or by contacting them. Unless we need to take a specific action on anything in those stacks of papers–at which point, I wholeheartedly encourage you to take it out right now and do whatever you need to do with it–let them go. Yes, thank those kind marketing professionals for thinking of you, for sending you these high-quality nuggets of inspiration and knowledge, or updates about how they spent your money, and let them go.

It’s a false perception of the value of those papers that keeps us hanging on to them. The same goes for all of the other stuff that we cling to that no longer serves us.

Whether you’re in the SOBS program or releasing on your own, it’s important to consider the true value of these items instead of assuming that it’s valuable because it is pretty or costs money, or that it was loved by somebody else.

Instead of asking if you can use a vase, ask yourself if you will. Instead of remembering how much you paid for a dress, remember what it’s costing you energetically to remember your ex-husband every day when you go in your closet to get dressed. Yes, a recipe is valuable… if you’re going to cook that meal. Yes, an article about employing social media to market your business can be valuable but only if you can actually find it, read it, decide if it resonates for you, and if so implement it.

Does this item serve me more than the space it occupies would serve me? If not… release, release, release.

When we do, we create space for what is true and important in our lives. We can find what we need to thrive. We can treasure our most sacred possessions.  We can have room at our table to share a meal with friends and family. We can cultivate the space to care for ourselves well, to play, to create. We have room to love, to breathe, to dance. When we release what no longer serves us, we can at last… truly live.

YOU’RE INVITED: Registration is open for the March Sick of Being Stuck Intro course. If you can’t get this done on your own, come to class. It works. Visit for more information.

Read more: Feng Shui & Organizing, Self-Help, Spirit, Stress, , , , , , , , , ,

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Christy Diane Farr

Christy Diane Farr is a catalyst. If that sounds like something you want more of in your life, visit 'The Greenhouse' at and join the Wildflower Evolution on Facebook.


+ add your own
12:43PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

Idea: all the magazines sent to you from non-profits can be donated to vet, doctor, dentist, ect. offices. :) Also, all the pamphlets and stuff I get I keep in folders neatly labeled and mounted on my wall so I can easily give information to any curious visitors! ^_^

11:12AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

I'm a paper clutter freak. I am afraid I will want to reread something that I forgot about and won't have it.

I'm also a clothes freak. I worked at a store where I got great discounts on clothes and I just hate to let them go.

I will work on getting rid of at least some of them!!

8:29AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

working on my clutter - slow but sure

11:54PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

Great article! Thanks for the advice--I'm ready to start purging.

6:16AM PST on Mar 2, 2012

Jay W., I am in the same boat. I came to this city with a large purse and a medium dog 38 years ago I struggled for pennies for many years and raised a child on next to nothing and the thrift store. Now, many people would consider me well off. I filled my apartment with stuff I found in the street and refinished or fixed stuff up. One day I looked around and realized I could hardly move around and couldn't always find what I actually wanted or needed in the chaos. I also owned a vacation house that was totally filled with fabulous things and stuff I thought I might need again some day. Then came the rented storage rooms. But as I have learned the hard way, letting go of all this stuff let's new and much better stuff come into your life. You need to trust that you will never be poor again. When I finally got rid of a terribly dense last huge pile in my apartment this December I treated myself and my husband to a short fun cruise and took only a large purse for a week. Our son and his wife came along and we had the best time ever. When I came home I looked around and was totally happy. I have faith in you Jay. Truly rich people don't need much of anything.

3:08AM PST on Mar 2, 2012

at one time i had nothing and nowi have too much and cannot bring myself to part with it even tho i agree with everything in this article

4:26AM PST on Mar 1, 2012

I used to download and print books and articles to read at home which now occupy a large portion of my bookcase, I guess it's time to say goodbye to them in order to release space. I'm starting this weekend. thanks.

8:19PM PST on Feb 27, 2012

i'm not good at this.

1:54PM PST on Feb 27, 2012

Just what I needed to read today, as I sort thru boxes, preparing for our move! Thx!

11:18AM PST on Feb 27, 2012

solution could be biodegradable coffins made of business cards, library over due notices, etc...yes! You could take it with you (at least for a while).

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