We're learning how to discriminate between what supports us and what doesn't. I talk about it in a simple, "Do I use, love, enjoy this thing, or can I let it go?" way to encourage you to begin the investigation.
One of my blog readers took what I said and came up with his own paring down criteria:
"For books, it meant looking at subject matter areas and asking myself (1) are these books useful to my work as an academic? or (2) assuming the gift of a normal lifespan, will I want to read them? For papers and materials, it meant asking myself (1) are these useful for projects I'm engaging in? or (2) Do they really have a special significance or positive importance?"
You're looking to see what questions motivate you to take a look and begin letting go. What will help you open up and encourage you to stay open during this personal inventory. It's a more delicate and precise part of you. But the more you use it, it becomes stronger and naturally automatic. It's satisfying because it allows you to become connected to your life.
Usually we're taught to look for things in life to constantly stimulate us emotionally, intellectually, and physically. When we use up one thing, we move on to the next thing. Our lives and homes become a dumping ground for discarded things that no longer capture our attention. Living that way dulled and exhausted us.
Finding a way to not use our life, but connect with it becomes more satisfying. Essentially it's what we were looking for all along.