As an artist/designer I collect tons of books, papers, and magazines all with the hopes of using them for inspiration in some way in the near future. Therefore, it's super difficult for me to let these items go. Especially now that I've started collaging and every scrap of paper has the potential of becoming a piece of art. But the result of this collection leaves my space lacking in regards to storage. Every shelf and corner on the floor of my studio is stuffed with stuff. I don't like it, so I've been working on letting things go.
It's been a slow process because it takes me a long time to go through my magazines and papers to determine what I can let go (the "dump" pile is always smaller). But when I haul the goods to The Book Thing (a great place in Baltimore where you can unload your books and mags, or pick up stuff for free) it feels really good. And I never miss the items once I leave.
Purging clothes is on my list, too. Gladly, I don't have a problem letting clothes go. I tend to wear the same thing over and over, so my wardrobe is pretty small. If it's something I haven't worn in a while it's nothing for me to throw it in a plastic bag and give it to Goodwill.
Every other weekend I've been setting aside time to go through my stuff to see what might be a good candidate to donate or just throw away. Once the collection is hefty I make plans for a drop-off.
Freeing up our space is a great way to free up our psyche. This allows opportunities and good energy to flow in easily and effortlessly, which ultimately leads to more happiness (see this great TedTalk by Graham Hill, Less Stuff More Happiness).
As we start this new season (a great time to do inventory and get rid of summer stuff), I challenge you to get rid of some stuff this weekend. Spend an hour or two going through that junk mail pile covering your dining table, that closet of stuff you don't wear, or that art supply storage bin filled with dried up paint. You'll feel great letting go so you can let some other goodness in.
Tips for disposal:
• Getting rid of batteries or paint? Visit your county or city website and search for "disposal of hazardous/toxic materials." Like Baltimore City, they may have a monthly drop-off for your hazardous waste. Some of these drop-off locations take electronics as well. You never want to put those items in your regular garbage.
• That old TV tube or computer not working anymore? Some electronic stores, like Best Buy, take and recycle electronics. Be sure to call in advance to find out drop-off times and what items they accept.
• Getting rid of towels and bed clothing? Pet shelters love these items for their furry occupants. Call your local shelter to see what they need.
• Letting go of gently used clothing or household items? Homeless shelters, Goodwill, Salvation Army, churches, or temporary housing are great candidates for these.
• Don't need those books, office or art supplies? Baltimore has the The Book Thing, but some schools and libraries are thrilled to take books and supplies that are still in good shape.
• Getting rid of magazines? Go through them and tear out pages you like and recycle the rest of the publication. Store the clippings in a folder or binder.
Do you have tips for letting stuff go? Please share!