what’s your perfect amount of stuff?


I’m tired of stuff management. I just spent an entire weekend up in the attic preparing the kids’ old clothes and toys for consignment.

Nearly a hundred items had been accumulating there for several months in anticipation of this sale.

While sorting and pricing all this stuff, I have to admit that I questioned my original decision to get rid of some of it and had to get emotionally detached all over again.

I know how entrancing stuff can be, but I’m done spending too much time caught up with it.

My journey toward minimalism keeps me motivated to break free from my attachments. My excitement about this lifestyle has led to some pretty heavy-handed declutter sessions over the last few years.

There are days I feel a long way from the point I dream of. But I’ll be honest, there are also days I feel like I’ve gotten rid of too much, especially when I haven’t done laundry in several days : )

So how much stuff is the right amount? It undoubtedly varies for everyone.

There are stages in your life when your right amount of stuff will be significantly more, like when you have young kids or a hobby that requires a bunch of equipment. But you’re always free to choose what your perfect amount is. I truly believe that amount can be minimal and you’ll still have everything you need.

During my weekend in the attic preparing stuff to sell, I thought about how to determine what my family’s right amount of stuff is.

If I was hesitant to get rid of something, I tried to pinpoint why. I became aware of the crazy dialogue my mind was having while contemplating whether something should stay or go.

So I wrote some of these thoughts down to help me get closer to my perfect amount. If you’re trying to figure this out too, I hope these guidelines help you get closer to that liberating clutter-free lifestyle!

It should go

Someone close to you will think you’re crazy for getting rid of it. Embrace crazy.

Everyone has one and might think you’re strange if you don’t. Embrace strange as well. A lot of expectations of what’s needed to run a household are dated anyway.

It will be stored away waiting for the moment your future grandkids will get as much joy from it as your child did. Watch Jessie’s song from the movie Toy Story 2, have yourself a good cry, and give it to another kid that will enjoy it now.

Getting rid of it represents the end of an era in you or your child’s life. A new era is waiting but may not have space to happen if you hang on to the past.

You’re afraid that without it, you won’t be able to conjure the memories of a special moment in time. There are nonmaterial things that will remind you of happy times, so if the item doesn’t bring you joy, feel free to part ways.

It might make a nice heirloom if your kids want it one day. Leave them fun memories instead.

You or someone else paid good money for it or it might be valuable in the future. If this is the case, sell it and move on. Get help here.

It might fit again if you lose or gain weight. Likewise, it might come back in style again. The benefits of a capsule wardrobe far outweigh keeping “just in case” clothes around.

It might be useful in a future sewing/craft/art/school/scrapbooking project. This is the most impervious type of clutter in my opinion. Get new supplies when and if the moment arises.

Someone has borrowed it in the past and might need it again. Give it to them now if it’s no further use to you.

It would just be one more possession weighing you down, inhibiting you from doing something spontaneous one day, like move to Maui!

It should stay

It makes you happy, even if you can’t explain why and there’s no use for it.

You could use it again or there is a very good chance you will use it again in the near future.

So what’s your perfect amount of stuff?

No one can answer this question but you, and it may take some time and soul searching to do so.

If you’re on the fence about something because it could be reasoned either way, then consider this: the lightness and freedom you’ll feel after getting rid of it will far outweigh any reason for keeping it.

The best view you can take about stuff is that it is not permanent and it should be allowed to flow freely in and out of your life.

You’ll be amazed at how the space that’s left after getting rid of stuff that no longer serves you will help you decide what you do want in your life.

Do you have any tips to add for deciding what should stay or go that help you determine your perfect amount of stuff? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

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