The NYT had a recent article on decluttering which, of course, isn't surprising at this time of the year. The comments left on the author's blog, however, break my heart. I've thankfully never had a hoarding problem but it has only been a couple of years since I've learned to free myself from the tyranny of stuff. And it feels very, very good.
I may not be a neat freak that finds nirvana in vacuuming, but I'm excellent at getting rid of things I don't need anymore. I also happened to marry a man who hates throwing anything out, who enjoys very much finding new uses for old things, and what this means is that I have to think VERY carefully about buying new things because if I'm not careful I'll have to stare at that impulse purchase for the next twenty years. That has cured me of any desire to buy things "just because." I also hate dust, and the more things you have, the more things you have to dust. Every time I'm wiping something I ask myself "is this thing worth it?" A lot of the time it just isn't.
This morning I filled a large kitchen bag with pure junk - junk that was hiding in closets, boxes and drawers as well as right on my kitchen counter. Getting rid of it made the house feel lighter, the air felt cleaner.
Is it beautiful? Does it make you happy? Does it make your life easier? Do you really truly need it?
If the answer is no - get rid of it.