I was talking to someone today who told me, "I've never had a problem with stuff. I pride myself on not having clutter." But recently he began to get a little more curious about the things in his home. He took a closer look and discovered that he had a number of books that he once used for research that he no longer had a need for. He was surprised that he'd been hanging onto them and that he felt a pull to still hang onto them. They reminded him of the projects he worked on, but not in a helpful way. He felt like he "should" hang onto them. That means his heart was not into it. Plus he noticed they were taking away his focus on the projects that were important to him now. Once he saw the actual effects the books were having on him he let them go.
When I work with clients, I tell them the effects that I see their things are having on them. When they are holding an item, I'll say if I notice that they look pale, or their eyes go hazy, or they are slumped. It helps to see that something is making you tired, or feeling guilty, or is causing you to be indecisive. We can get lost in the memories we had for an item and we aren't aware of the effects the thing is having on us now.
I'm preparing for a move and I'm going through my things and deciding what's coming with me and what's not. I considered my couch and I realized that I felt exhausted thinking about bringing it with me. It's a sturdy couch and in good shape. But it's not for me anymore. I had a thought, "But what am I going to sit on?" And then I thought, "I don't know, but not this (couch)." I'll be couch-less and feel out the new space. I'll let the space tell me what it needs. What a relief.