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Decluttering 101: What’s the Real Value of Your Stuff?

GarageSale_400Why are you hanging on to that not-quite-right gift from a friend? Your child’s baby clothes? That great garage sale “find” you never use? Learn the real value of your belongings, so you can start to clear your home of what has nothing to offer you. From Breathing Room.

When we help people declutter their homes, the word that comes out of their mouths most frequently is but—as in: “But I paid good money for this” or “But I just bought this” or “But this was a gift from my best friend” or “But I inherited this from my grandmother.” We are confused about the true nature of value. Money is a symbolic representation of value, but it does not define the value itself. Things are not valuable just because someone paid money for them or because they are old. They are not even valuable if they were passed down through multiple generations.

Objects are valuable in your life if they create happiness, freedom, and ease. If something cost you money, but fills you with regret whenever you look at it, then it does not have value. If a gift needles you with guilt, then it doesn’t have value. If someone hands down an heirloom to you that carries the burden of expectation, then it doesn’t have value.

If you are constantly feeling drained by regret, guilt, and unfulfilled expectation, then your loss of emotional and spiritual energy is more precious than money. Your energy is the real gold here, and it has true value out in the world. Allowing your energy to be drained—energy that could be used to improve your life and the lives of others—is like throwing gold down the drain.

If any object you possess makes you experience consuming emotions, it is draining your vital energy. If you look at an object in your home and you can literally feel the energy drain out of you, it is using up prime real estate in your home and heart. That space could be better used for love, happiness, joy, and compassion. Think of your heart as if it were a room where you can invite people you love, feed them, and nourish them—a place where you go for comfort, refuge, and refreshment.

Nothing—no matter how much you paid for it, or who gave it to you, or how long it has been in your family—is truly valuable if it is eating up space in your heart that can be used for love, happiness, and freedom. That breathing room is more meaningful than any gift, and it creates a better future than anything you have inherited.


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