Go on a Home Diet: Good Things Happened When You Toss the Junk!

Why are you keeping it?

Great things that happen when you go on a Home Diet

It’s normal to accumulate stuff as we go through life.  We start off small and grow our possessions as our life grows.  Things like family, friends, career, interests, and hobbies continue to expand as we age, and along with this growth comes stuff.  And the stuff fills our rooms, our closets, and our garages.  And people give us stuff, and we get stuff as presents, and we even get stuff free for buying other stuff.  It’s a never-ending accumulation.  And now it’s giving way to all these storage companies so we can store our stuff somewhere else as our homes are bursting at the seams.

Most of the stuff isn’t used.  It isn’t necessary at all.  And often we have 2 or 3 of the same thing.  We keep them all, just in case.  Just in case of what?  By the time we need a new one, the extra ones we have are usually too old to use, not to mention that the new ones are usually better and do more.  But still, we hang on to these old useless extras.  For a rainy day?  Why would we need a can opener on a rainy day has always bewildered me!



We keep stuff for a variety of reasons.  An understanding of these reasons can be enlightening.


Some Reasons Why We Keep Stuff

  • It may come in handy – but by the time it does have a use, it’s often old and ineffective.
  • Cheaper to have it than to have to buy it later – but with mass production and the wealth of items becoming available in ‘dollar stores’, so many things are inexpensive to purchase.
  • Has memories of important events in our life – the memories are within ourselves, not within the objects.  And to have an object that reminds you of someone or something that is packed away in some box in a garage isn’t really doing much for your memories.
  • Part of our personal history, like school projects and report cards – if your personal history is important, why not scan in these items and make slideshows or e-books that you can easily browse any time.  And then you can share it with others anytime without having the sharing take days of sorting through all documents and finding that they’ve all gone brown with age.
  • We don’t know how to get rid of it with respect – we feel that if we toss something we’re being disrespectful in some way.  Except maybe the problem is that we are giving the object attributes that it just doesn’t have.  It’s more our own perception that if we toss the item we are tossing our memories.  But memories can’t be tossed away.  The memory of building the USS Enterprise with our Dad will always remain, even when we toss away the old broken model, along with the box the parts came in and the glue and painted used when we built it.
  • Helps us connect to others not with us – the connection to our departed loves ones is within us, and not with an object.  If you really need the object to connect with your feelings, consider taking photos that you can look at any time, instead of having to dig through boxes and boxes to find the stuff.  And often by the time you find whatever it is, it’s taken so long that you’ve lost interest.
  • And the list goes on and on and on…

Most of this stuff sits in a box in a basement, attic or closet.  We haven’t looked at it in years, maybe decades.  But we keep it!

Some people even rent storage space for all this stuff.  Somehow this expense is justified as it allows us to hold on to the stuff, without having it around.  ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is often what people tell me.  But if it’s out of mind, why keep it!

6 Reasons to go on a Home Diet

Here are 6 excellent reasons why we need to go on a home diet to downsize our stuff; especially when we’re over 60:

1 – Feel lighter – Just like a weight loss diet, reducing your stuff makes you feel lighter.  It’s like a massive weight has lifted off your shoulders.  Your rooms have space, you can see corners and where the wall meets the floor.  When you open a closet you don’t risk getting hit on the head with a falling box.  Your basement isn’t a fire hazard and your attic no longer provides great hiding spots for the critters that love to nestle with boxes and clutter. There’s a swing in your step and a smile on your face when you don’t have to look at and maneuver amongst all the clutter.

2 – Feel good – Along with feeling lighter, we tend to become optimistic about our lives.  We don’t feel as burdened down as we are no longer living in chaos.  Being at home isn’t depressing.   We now can enjoy the daylight and the open spaces.  We can look forward returning home to neat and tidy rooms.  Our homes are cleaner, fresher and healthier, and this feels good.

3 – Get rid of the guilt – You often hear people say, “Oh I have to keep that, it was my mothers. ” That’s not a reason to keep something, that guilt talking.  If they want it, they should have a use for it.  If it’s sitting in a closet, the object is causing guilt.  Get rid of it and the guilt will be gone.

4 – Feel close to the departed anytime – The stuff doesn’t make you feel closer to those that have gone, it’s your memories that give you the great feelings.  The stuff just gets old, moldy, and falls apart.  Seeing the stuff breakdown just hurts our memories.  You can think of someone anytime, you don’t need to dig stuff out of storage to remind you of them.

5 – Cheaper to toss the stuff – Keeping stuff we aren’t using is expensive.  Why pay rent for a big house, an extra bedroom, a large basement or a storage locker if the stuff being stored isn’t being used.  Better to toss the stuff than to pay for it to be hidden away somewhere.  The money you can save can be put to good use elsewhere, especially if you are living on a fixed income or pension.

6 – We can cherish our memories anytime – By getting rid of the clutter we are allowing ourselves the freedom to reminisce and enjoy our memories.  We don’t have to find something we haven’t seen in eons to cherish our past.

Consider taking photos or scanning in old pictures, report cards and the like, before you toss them.  That way you’ll be able to browse, share and enjoy your ‘stuff’ without having the clutter and expense of keeping it all hidden away in boxes, closets and storage lockers.

Downsizing can be difficult, but the benefits are worth it.

It’s all good!

This article was originally published in the Sixty and Me Website.  Click this link to go to the publication of this article.


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