The main reason to find and let go of clutter is the positive feeling it gives us. There's a potent sense of freedom that comes from letting go of things that are no longer a part of our lives. That's a tremendously fulfilling experience.
When we are hanging onto something that is not serving us we are often motivated by the fear of the loss we think we'll feel when this thing goes. "If I let this go, I will feel some pain." It's a fear that's not based on truth. It's an assumption that's not investigated. The fear keeps us from moving forward. So, by hanging onto this thing that's not a part of our life now, we are actually living in the pain of fear.
I encourage the investigation into the actual value of something in your life because it moves you out of the stuck fear into a tangible feeling of joy. There's a great relief that comes from noticing, "This thing that I've been holding onto for so long, that I've been afraid to let go of, is actually a pain in my ass. It's in the way of my enjoying my life and I want it out of here."
One of my blog readers wrote about he and his girlfriend's large book collection. They had so many books they had to buy another bookcase. As the new bookcase began to fill, he realized, "Buying more bookcases was not a solution, but actually delaying implementing the solution." He started selling the books on Amazon and was happy to notice the letting go gave him a buzz.
He wrote, "The buzz I'm feeling is the fact that they're not on our shelves anymore. I don't have to worry about reading them and if I do want to read them, I can check the library. It's also the feeling that at least for a short time, someone will enjoy the book they've bought - hopefully they'll pass the book on in some way after they've finished enjoying it. The space we've gained is now being used by the board games that we play. Instead of them being hidden away in our wardrobes, they are there to access easily!"
I'd like to also share a beautiful email I got from one of my clients about the freedom she felt from her clutter busting experience.
"For over 35 years I've had an unused beach towel. My father gave it to me when I was little. It has managed to stay with me through many moves across the country and back. When I decided to clutter bust the linen closet this week, I felt extreme resistance. I would see the neatly folded towel every time I opened the door."
"It finally "spoke" to me, repeating what it's message has always been though I didn't realize it. "Your father died when you were little and this is all you have left of him. This is the only thing you still have that he gave you."
"This message to myself was bringing me down. I also realized it was false. My father gave me values about life - to treat people and animals kindly and to be generous. The towel was getting in the way of me realizing that the gifts he had given me were intangible, inside me, and how I strive to live my life every day."
"It was with great relief that I put the towel in a bag of clean blankets for a local animal shelter. I felt happy that it would be providing a little comfort, however brief, to a cold puppy. An obstacle has been removed. I feel emotionally lighter. And closer to my father."