Accumulating stuff is easy, but letting go can be much harder. I am not a hoarder and I don’t like clutter. But for some reason I am pitifully bad at getting rid of things. I get overly sentimental about inanimate objects or I worry that one day I might really need a particular thing, even though I’ve never found a use for it before. So the fact that I have a car full of books, clothes, toys and what I can only describe as junk, all destined for the charity shop, is nothing short of a miracle.
I was slightly dubious about setting up an outbox at first. It sounded like a pretty long-winded and haphazard way of getting rid of things. Surely I’d be better off making a definitive decision – keep or throw – and just getting on with it.
But, I had seriously underestimated the power of the outbox. Placing something inside, knowing you can change your mind later on actually takes away any decision making pressure. Instead of tying myself up in knots about whether I should hang on to that never read cookery book or the cute top that’s too small, I just chucked everything right in and put the box in the garage out of sight.
While my things sat there for a week or two, a weird kind of voodoo magic occurred. The hold my possessions had over me evaporated into thin air. Instead of fretting about throwing something out, I was suddenly wondering why I wanted to keep it, and the questions I asked myself were very different. “Do I have a place for this? Am I really going to fix it? Will I actually use this again?” The answer was usually a big resounding “No!”
I was doing so well, I turned the whole garage into one big outbox. I did rescue a few of the children's things, which I will save to hand down to nephews and nieces later on. Everything else - books, toys, clothes, knickknacks - was loaded into the car. The books will go to Oxfam and I’ll wander down the high street to see which charity shops will take the rest. The only thing that has completely stumped me, is what to do with the tiny plastic toys that come free with the children's comics. I don’t want them to end up as landfill, but I can’t see anyone else wanting them either. I certainly don’t!
Rebecca's January Cure:
(Image credits: Rebecca Bond)