Question: I collect magazine articles and have files upon files of them. What should I do with them?
It sounds to me that you like collecting information. Maybe you like to “know” things and pass information along to others. Or you like to have the info “in case” you might need it. Maybe it’s a bit of both.
Clutter is defined as something you do not love, that is not useful and that you do not have room for in your space. With that in mind, I have some questions for you:
· Do you actually refer to the articles? If not, is it because you can’t find anything or you never actually need to use the info?
· Do you have room for your articles or is your collection outgrowing or has already outgrown its space?
I once worked with someone who had an extensive magazine collection. Someone asked her for place card ideas for a party, and she brought in a stack of ideas culled from her collection. I was blown away. I have never had the patience to maintain magazines articles to any extent. For me, they were clutter; to her they were very useful.
Be honest with yourself about how useful your articles are to you. If you can’t find what you’re looking for but have actually needed the info, it’s time to set up a system that works for you. By asking me your question, I’m guessing that the collection is either not useful to you or you have too much of it.
“In case” are code words for fear. You just might be collecting information to make you feel like you are safe, “If I ever need to know this, I’m covered!” It would be ideal to address the emotion and not collect the stuff, or you set yourself up for needing more and more stuff to cover the fear.
To start clearing and set up a system that works for you, I would suggest this approach:
I came across a crotched piano runner my Grandmother made for me when I was sorting through my linen closet a few weeks ago. I don't love the piano runner now and never did. But yet I kept it in my special linens bin because I love my Grandma, and she handmade this for me.
What a tripe whammy: gift, homemade, Grandma. Guilt from three angles. Any one of these can make getting rid of something difficult. But three of them? What’s a girl to do?
One of my favorite methods is to try to find a good home for the item. I think many of us wish that what we have a hard time parting with will be enjoyed by someone else.
Some things are just too hard to donate. Maybe it’s because we never really know what happens to them. I donate many things, most of the time without a second thought, probably because they don’t have any feelings associated with them.
So each month that I go to my book club I bring a bag of things that I want to find a good home. Many times I have great success with this and feel a bit like the matchmaker. My friends take home something they love, and I get the satisfaction of seeing my things appreciated again or maybe for the first time.
I just sent a note out to the family to see if anyone wants the piano runner. If not, to book club it goes next month. And if no one wants it, I feel better for at least trying to find it a good home, and that makes the guilt go away, triple whammy or not.
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