When it’s hard to throw things away.

th-2More than nine years ago my editor gave me a black fleece jacket with the MSN Money logo. The garment has seen some seriously hard use over the years, to the point where it’s no longer midnight-black but rather more of a pre-dawn slate.

A bit worn but still warm, the jacket has reached the end of the line because its zipper is kaput. Yet I’m having a tough time throwing it away, even though it’s no longer wearable and even though I no longer need it. My black fleece Mr. Rebates pullover keeps me plenty warm, thanks; it’s softer and cozier, too.

The other day I tried to throw the MSN jacket in the trash but couldn’t unclench my fingers. Two reasons why:


Good memories are associated with the jacket, and

I’ve got a recurring case of scarcity mentality.

Back in autumn 2007 I was hired to write the Smart Spending blog for MSN Money. At the time I was back in college, managing an apartment building and doing odd jobs on the side in order to pay off my divorce-related debt faster. The blogging job thrilled me because I’d be able to get through school without taking out any student loans and because I’d be able to retire my debt much faster.

Rather than folding T-shirts at a clothing shop or wiping tables at the student union, I was making a living by making a difference. Saving money is my superpower, and I was proud to share frugal tips with people interested in smarter spending. The job became even more important once the recession hit in earnest; reader comments and private e-mails indicated that my frugal hacks were lifesavers.


Worse than obsessive

As of September 2013 MSN Money cut me loose, along with all other contract writers (even Liz Weston). Ever since then I’ve been a freelancer, which now and then awakens the scarcity mentality of my younger days: Throw away an almost-perfectly-good jacket? When I had no idea when I might get another one? No! It must be kept.

Never mind that I have plenty of warm clothing – or, more importantly, that this garment can no longer keep me warm because its zipper doesn’t work. It must be kept.

This is different from simple wariness and also from extreme frugality. The former is a great way to keep from overspending; the latter is a lifestyle option that can quickly veer into the obsessive behaviors that non-frugalists love to parody.

(For the record: I do wash and reuse Ziploc bags. I do not, however, use both sides of the toilet paper.)

But a scarcity mentality is worse than obsessive: It’s life-diminishing. The fear of having nothing turns me into a walking anxiety attack, compulsively counting my pennies and fearing that one day I’ll need something that I don’t have and can’t afford to buy.


Useful and beautiful

Sure, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever be totally without resources. But once you’ve been broke it can be hard to feel not-broke, to be confident that hard times won’t come again.

That way madness lies. You can wind up unable to spend at all, frozen financially like Han Solo in carbonite: alive after a fashion, but not really living.

I’m not there yet, thank goodness. But each time I can’t throw away something that needs jettisoning I get one step closer to living in a house full of bundled newspapers and boxes marked “string too short to save.”

William Morris suggested a different way of doing things:

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

A moment ago I got the MSN jacket and threw it into the trash. It can’t be used for shop rags (not absorbent enough) or to line a pet’s bed (we don’t have animals), and I can’t think of a single good use for the thing.

Tossing it into the can did cause a little twinge. But all the garment was doing was taking up space: in my closet, and in my head.

Now that I’ve let it go, I can breathe a little more easily. One less useless item in the house. And that’s beautiful.

Readers: Do you have trouble de-cluttering, or even tossing out a single item that’s past its prime? Why or why not?


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  1. Always always always. I have finally JUST retired a 6-year-old pair of pants that I’d worn holes into over a year ago. Because it was still sort of ok, and no one sees me in them anyway, so why does it matter? They were so bad that I actually became self conscious about them when it was just me and Seamus.

    Like you, I’ve a scarcity complex, developed early on in childhood. I actually rescued things back from our family yard sales. My aunts brought their stuff to combine with our sales and I swooped down on a tin box with a dog on it. It wasn’t worth more than a dime but I begged for and got it. That was almost 30 years ago and I still have it. Because it’s still perfectly good and I’m sentimentally attached, of course. JuggerBaby has castoffs that are worth actual money and I’m hoarding decades old containers. It’s easier to discard no longer decent clothes than containers, though. Know thyself, I suppose. 🙂

    • Donna Freedman

      The sweatpants I wear while working at home were, I believe, purchased in the mid-1990s when teal and turquoise were hot colors. They haven’t been worn constantly since then — I had another pair that had to die first — but they’ve seen some pretty consistent use for probably the past 10 years. Now they’re developing holes yet I refuse to toss them on the grounds that (a) they aren’t falling off from lack of elastic, the way the last ones were, and (b) I always wear a robe over my T-shirt and sweats so the holes aren’t visible.

      Guess there’s a (c) in there: I work at home and no one is here to judge what I wear.

      In fact, I have two new pairs of sweatpants waiting in the wings; each cost me $5.97 on the clearance rack. I’ve started taking one pair with me when I travel, for lounging at my dad’s house or my daughter’s. No “church” pants (holey) outside the house.

      I do have standards — and I won’t raise them for anyone. 😉

      • My mom bought a pair of pajamas for me 20 years ago. I remember because I was 14 years old and they were Joe Boxer, and boy, did I feel grown up. I never wore the top, so I donated those relatively early, but the pants; I’ve now worn those for 20 years. About two months ago, I had to face the fact that the elastic was worn out to the point where they wouldn’t stay up (plus the holes in other spots). I’m not even kidding – those pants have been on the floor in the corner of my bedroom for the last two months b/c a) I’m a slob and b) I can’t seem to part with them. They were a gift from my immigrant, hardworking mom, who’s the thriftiest, most self-denying person I know. I’ve committed to KonMari’ing my house next week, so it’s only a matter of time before I have to thank them for their 20 years of service and let them go 🙁

  2. I just had this problem when I was getting rid of my old Pokemon cards. I held onto them for years and they were collecting dust. But I couldn’t bear to part with them because I had memories attached to them. I did sell them recently once I realized I had the memories without the clutter.

    It’s funny how we pick the silliest objects to hang onto but it happens to everyone. 🙂

    • I’m reminded of Marcel Proust here. He wrote about memories triggered by a certain taste or smell, like the taste of madeleines (a French pastry). Some sensory memories are surprisingly specific. If the conditions are just right, the experience comes back. This is why I keep some objects that are not useful, but they hold not just memories, but a key to a living past. When I take them out of the box, especially after years of not seeing them, I can relive part of my past. I know I can’t keep everything, which is why I love to recycle unnecessary papers, but keys to the past? They will always stay.

  3. Sure do. Especially things I feel I should somehow have the skills or imagination to repurpose. For me it is about both the fear of needing it someday even if it is worn out and not wanting to contribute to the landfills. Damn NJ and their mandatory recycling enforceable by law. I feel guilty throwing anything out.

  4. I found myself setting things aside in preparation for divorce, whether it be an extra coat or a few finds from Goodwill, just in case I couldn’t afford it later.

    Right now, I’m in the process of decluttering (shoveling) all that stuff. My anxiety over that situation is entirely gone even though money is thin.

    Oh, and that divorce? It will be FINAL today at 1:30 pm EST. 🙂

    • Yeah for you!!

    • Donna Freedman

      Congratulations, if warranted. With divorce, one never knows.

      My own divorce tale goes like this: Finished a morning class at North Seattle Community College then got on the bus to the airport. Landed in Chicago in early evening, picked up by a friend at whose house I stayed. Spent the next day wandering around the UC district and doing some course reading, then took my hostess out to dinner.

      Next morning I took public transit to the courthouse and got divorced. Walked across the street to a Corner Bakery store to order a sandwich to eat on the plane, but had trouble deciding what I wanted. “Sorry I’m taking so long,” I told the clerk, “but I’m a little bit dazed — I just got divorced.”

      “Really? My sister got divorced today, too!” the woman chirped. “Congratulations! You want a cookie?”

      I did.

  5. It comforts me to know I’m not alone with these issues. In the back of my mind I think “when I could find just a few minutes to repair…” and it just doesn’t happen and things pile up. I need to just let it go!

    • Donna Freedman

      Recently DF and I had a sewing circle, with both of us making minor repairs to garments. Right now an old T-shirt is draped over the back of my office chair, waiting to have the split under one arm fixed.

      The shirt is almost 12 years old but it still has around-the-house wear left in it. Earlier this year I sadly relegated two other shirts to the rag bag because they just weren’t fixable/wearable. They will have new lives as cleaning rags. Get every drop of usefulness out of things, I say.

      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

      • Angie unduplicated

        I held on to many pairs of pretty satin panties with saggy elastic for years, on the chance that I would find colored elastic somewhere. Finally found it on eBay. When my pants get holes, I cut them off for work shorts and hem them. They dry faster than Daisy Dukes and fold smaller. Try it on the PJs; barter to a home seamstress if you don’t sew.
        I would have turned that jacket into door socks or a snow mat for the back door.

  6. Yes and No! I grew up in a very cluttered house, and made up my mind that mine wouldn’t be like that, so I threw things away, and then wished later I had a few of them back. My clothes, though, I wear at home when they are full of holes that hubby asks me to please throw them away. When I was young, I didn’t realize the purpose of saving, but now I get more like my grandmother every day. I used to have dreams of being a bag lady out on the street, but no longer do.

  7. I’m always curious about the space between where something is useful and then no longer is. Shoes, for example. They can get polished and reheeled, but at some point they get tossed or sent to a thrift store. Clothing, unless your size changes–what is the point when it is worn out and no long usable?

    I think the emotional attachment is much more difficult to get over than the physical attachment to things, and that’s why it’s harder to let go.

  8. jestjack

    GUILTY….I have a sweatshirt that I purchased in 1998 while staying at Wilderness Lodge at Disney World with our girls on a complimentary trip from the Baltimore Sun….another story. It has imperfections and is thin from all the washings. And the sleeves are chewed up. I still wear it often and can’t bear to give it up…a sickness I tell ya!
    In addition, I have a woodstove that I bought brand new 31 years ago. It’s not perfect and as a matter of fact could benefit from some repair. I was considering replacement when I found a NICE used stove on Craigslist. I began negotiating with the guy and then it dawned on me…that I wasn’t gonna be able to let the old stove go. Funny how you get attached to something you have owned about half your life. So repairs it is. Kudos to you for finding the strength to “let go”…..as for me…”I’m not there yet”….

  9. Absolutely have a hard time throwing stuff away! If I cannot use it anymore, I feel someone else can. That old coat would have been put into the pile for the SPCA donations…old towels, blankets, pillows, sheets and some clothes. I would have wrapped it around an old pillow for 1 more use!

    I have gotten to the rule 1 in 1 out to help with the decluttering of the closet and it works well.

  10. I DO have a fleece jacket that has a broken zipper and I safety pin it shut and wear it to sleep in since my shoulders get cold when I sleep. I would have taken that jacket and put it on my car seat so that my butt wouldn’t get cold when I got in my car on these cold winter mornings, or used the sleeves to dust with, but I would not have been able to toss it. I am going to be a grandmother for the first time in August and I have all my daughter’s baby stuff for her to use…cradle, fitted sheets, etc.

  11. Yes! I come from a long line of pack rats. I inherited a bunch of my dead grandmother’s clothes a few years ago and just recently got rid of them. I never wore them and Nana wouldn’t like me to have a cluttered closet anyways.
    My husband isn’t necessarily a pack rat, but he is a collector of DVDs, video games and consoles, and random video game memorabilia. It’s horrible. I love him dearly and this is just one of those things I have to bite my tongue at. I’m hoping he’ll slowly come around, and if not, oh well.

  12. Take a photo of a nostalgic item. Donate or throw the item. IF needed later, look at said photo of item and be nostalgic. It works.

  13. Ro in San Diego

    It is hard for me to throw things out. It is really hard for me to declutter as well. I grew up very poor and understand scarcity. I have taken to local free sites to help me get rid of things I no longer need in my home. I like the idea of rehoming things that are in good condition but I just don’t need them anymore. About 3 weeks ago I completely filled up my trash bin with things I didn’t need anymore. I feel physically ill when I get rid of things like that but I know it’s a good idea to keep my living environment free from clutter.

    • I so appreciate your comment. It reminded me of a sweet interaction with a freecycle lady. My DH will be unemployed at the end of March and we are heading for a move so major downsizing is a reality. A woman asked for furniture from freecycle as she was starting over after a divorce. We connected and we rehomed some art deco kitchen chairs, an old pole lamp, an enameled top kitchen table and a chest of drawers. As her x wasn’t coming through with the promised truck, we physically stuffed everything into a couple cars to get them to her place. Last minute I asked if she was interested in some framed bird pictures and smaller items. When she saw the stuff she was in tears as they were just her taste. She loves birds as well. It was a comfort to know she will use and really enjoy these things.

  14. LOL! I’m afraid darning the Costco socks probably takes this cake. I hate throwing out things that serve me well. Not just clothes but all kinds of things. Hated having to trade in the 16-year-old vehicle…and even now regret having done it.

  15. Melissa F

    Count me in that group too! I probably keep way more stuff than I should, just in case. Having grown up poor, then becoming a single parent, then later getting remarried and not having lots of money, then a house fire and losing a lot, I just save things. I also have a tendency when I buy things to not use them for a while. I am not sure why. I will buy a candle and not light it because I want it to stay new. I will buy a new shirt or outfit or pair of shoes and find an excuse why I shouldn’t wear it just yet and save it for a special occasion. Still working on figuring that one out. Maybe its an inner guilt of buying it or maybe keeping the tags on and not wearing it provides me a security that I can return it should I need money for something else. I do like to repurpose things and I do have a hard time letting things go.

    • Hmmm, I kind of do this too (buying/saving). I liken it to having a stocked pantry and it doesn’t bother me at all. I know I will wear it eventually. I do it most often with shoes. If I like a particular pair, I’ll hunt for a deal on a back-up pair. It falls under the heading of being prepared for me, with a dash of virtuous delayed gratification on the side.

      I do have a problem letting go of things, and that totally resonates with me. I’m about to try the whole “Take a picture” thing in my next decluttering effort. Hope it works.

      • Donna Freedman

        When the Rockport walking shoes I wear go on sale I buy four pairs at a time, through the Mr. Rebates cash-back shopping site, of course; the rebate makes the shoes even more affordable. (For those who aren’t cash-back aficionados, see the Mr. Rebates widget in the sidebar.) That way I don’t have to think about shoes for a long time.

        Currently have two pairs on the shelf and one on my feet. When I open the last box I’ll start watching for sales. Having four pairs at a time isn’t clutter, to my way of thinking: I know they’ll be used eventually and I paid the best price I could get.

        Now if I were buying half a dozen pairs of glittery brogans that I might or might not wear some day, that would be a problem. For me, anyway.

        • I remember Amy Dacyczyn commenting that one key to shopping/using a price book was knowing how often an item you buy regularly goes on sale, and then stocking up to the point where you have enough to last you until the next sale. I am curious as to how long 4 pair of walking shoes will last you and why you would buy 4 pair when I am sure they come on sale quite frequently. Are you concerned that they might be discontinued?

          • Donna Freedman

            As I recall they weren’t going on sale regularly, which is why I decided to stock up. At that time I was walking a lot more — living in Seattle without a car — so I went through them faster.

            These days I live too far from just about any place to walk regularly; the post office, a little under a mile away, is the only exception. It takes a lot longer to wear out the shoes. Perhaps when I get to the end of my penultimate pair I’ll reconsider buying four at a clip. Maybe I’ll drop down to two pairs per order.

  16. Kate Nelson

    I’m pretty good at decluttering… although the lovely jacket my sister gave me is still on the hanger. I just don’t dress like that anymore. I wish I could figure out what to do with the old VHS videotapes that are still in the entertainment center in the basement. I’d like to toss them but DH says no. FWIW, they haven’t been watched in literally years. Any ideas?

  17. Clothing that my mother has sewn for me that are beautiful, well made but don’t fit any longer or aren’t my style. I feel like I am dismissing my luck of being the daughter of such a talented and loving seamstress. I love the phrase “Saving is my super power”.

  18. Yes! It’s really hard for me to let things go if they’re still usable, even if only minimally usable. It’s not too bad if I can pass it along to someone else or donate it, but I can’t bear to throw out something I can still use – even if I have more somethings that work better.

    But there is just so. much. stuff. And a limited amount of space. I’m beginning to feel that not getting rid of stuff is impinging on our quality of life, and that’s making it easier to let things go.

    I realized the other day that if I only buy new clothes when the old ones are too worn to wear, then other than socks and underwear I probably won’t be buying clothes for the foreseeable future. I just don’t get out enough to wear down my nice clothes, and whatever does get worn/stained rotates into the “around the house” collection.

    Is it wrong that when I read about your old jacket, I thought first about replacing the zipper, then adding buttons and buttonholes? But, as you said – you have others. And the material is faded and worn. It was just that knee-jerk reflex of, “Hey! Don’t throw that out!” You did the right thing.

    • Donna Freedman

      Since I work at home I go through clothes very, very slowly. No need to buy power suits or nice slacks or heaven forbid, pantyhose. I can — and do! — go several years without buying anything except a “new” pair of jeans from the thrift store. My nice(ish) clothing gets worn at the symphony and the theater so it doesn’t wear out.

      Work uniform: sweatpants, T-shirt and robe (heavy one in the winter, light one in the summer). If it’s really hot (e.g., in the 50s or above) I lose the robe. Every year I come home from the Financial Blogger Conference with new T-shirts (sometimes four or five) so I don’t ever have to buy them. Last year (I think?) I bought those two pairs of sweatpants from the clearance rack but I’m determined to wear the turquoise ones until they shred completely. No one sees. No one cares.

      It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes me to burn through both pairs of the new sweats. My guess is “decades.”

      I’ve got nothing against nice stuff. It just doesn’t interest me that much — and living in Alaska I can get away with wearing jeans just about anywhere.

  19. Michelle

    “Saving money is my Superpower”! Indeed it is! I wish I had a T-shirt with that on it! You’re awesome! 🙂

    • I would wear the heck out of a “Saving money is my superpower.” tee. I’d even break my “no new clothes until the old ones wear out” rule for that, if it was available in my size. I suspect I’m not alone.

      There are a number of sites that will let you create, print and sell such merch. I say, go for it!

  20. Cakester

    I have a very hard time decluttering and releasing stuff! I remember once I had a very good yoga class where we meditated on need and releasing that which no longer serves. After I filled up several of the small size of trash bags with clothes that I no longer needed or wanted, with no guilt. If only I could repeat that experience regularly!

  21. It may be too late now, but to satisfy the emotional attachment, I might cut the logo out of the jacket and frame it or make a patch out of it for another shirt or jacket. Sometimes those little mementos of achievement or emotional attachment are nice to have around and visible in a more tangible form than a photo. I have a cousin who made a quilt out of her husband’s old tee shirts that he couldn’t part with. I have an old broach (not expensive) that was handed down from my mother-in-law’s side of the family. It has a broken clasp that cannot be repaired. I framed it and it is a wonderful conversation piece. Another friend had a doll quilt made for her by her grandmother that she had framed. Other ideas are to use the fabric for throw pillows or an extra pair of mittens. Yes, I battle the hoarder DNA I inherited, but I try to at least find a new use for things rather than leaving them to waste space in a closet or box.

  22. What helped me relax a little in the frugal sense was to think logically on how much I had achieved financially over the last several years. I have paid off all debt(except my mortgage and I am making payments on that every year, funded my sons college and am funding retirement. I then put all of this information on paper and adjusted my budget to include a few luxuries. This has helped me in turn throw out old or useless items(though like you I do struggle with sentimentally) I have a good friend with a good job who does indeed wear clothes with holes if she is just for example running errands. She also skimps on dental and medical checkups. She doesn’t heat her apartment in Winter. She will regularly eat oatmeal for dinner. The list goes on and on. It breaks my heart to see her like this.

    • Donna Freedman

      I hope she doesn’t continue to skimp medical and dental. An annual checkup may forestall a serious illness becoming more serious (or fatal). As for dental work, I went without it during two periods of my life (16-20 and 21-25) and as a result lost a couple of teeth, needed crowns on others and had a serious abscess.

      Penny-wise and pound-foolish, indeed.

      I will cop to eating oatmeal for dinner sometimes. But that’s only when I don’t feel like cooking or none of the leftovers look good. It isn’t a habit.

  23. I have trouble getting rid of things that are worn out and no longer useful because it’s seems to be in my DNA. Mom shopped as little as possible and got the last little bit of usefulness out of everything. That tendency has served me well most of the time. Now that I live in a smaller place, I can’t do that any more. Also, around age 50 I began a conscious effort to declutter my life.
    I quit a retail job a couple of months ago and now work in a BBQ restaurant that pays a dollar more an hour. Also, even though we don’t have waiters/waitresses, we still get tips. Tips are nice! My point is that even though I’m making more money, there is no lifestyle inflation going on. I’m still using/wearing/keeping stuff for as long as possible. I just recently replaced the 25-year-old clock/radio that I inherited from mom in 2003.
    BTW, those t-shirts I won last year? They really are cloud-soft. I won’t be buying tees for several years. Now I just need to use my very old tees for cleaning rags instead of packing them away. ;o)

    • Donna Freedman

      Good news about the job! Even better news is that you’re not doing lifestyle inflation.

      When I fled my marriage and moved to Seattle in 2004, I didn’t have an alarm clock or a radio. I paid 99 cents for a 1970s-era clock radio that woke me up with music daily until I moved in with DF in Feburary 2013. Since I didn’t need the radio any longer I gave it to my great-nephew, who is still using it. #greatcycleoffrugality

      Thanks for being such a consistent reader and commenter.

  24. It can be tough to let things go sometimes. What helps me is taking a picture and writing a quick blurb about what happened to the item. I do this in Evernote.

  25. Grandma A

    Replace the zipper.

  26. I keep two Disney figure because it’s made of clay and I thought I could use that as a weapon if someone break in my room. But it’s ugly and shouldn’t be there. ops.

  27. I’ve been guilty of wearing holey and stained shirts “just” at home and one day I forgot what I was wearing and went out shopping. I happened to look down at myself and realized how tattered I looked. I was clean and my hair brushed so I didn’t quite have the bag-lady look down but I would have been embarrassed to see anyone I knew. Even my purse was fraying and worn.

    I went home and pulled out my wardrobe out of the closet and tossed everything that had unrepairable holes or was worn and stained including the purse. I already HAD shirts and a purse “in waiting” and I decided then and there to not wear deeply damaged clothes. I buy most of my clothing from thrift stores and happily repair things I find…even replacing zippers so my environmental impact is lower than it could be anyway. Your mileage may vary but I FEEL better when I am not in worn out clothes!

    • Donna Freedman

      Those “deeply damaged” clothes are great to wear when doing dirty chores or painting. But I agree that wearing awful-looking stuff when you’re out and about can deeply damage your self-image.

  28. I wanted to pare down my wardrobe recently to the minimal amount possible since I was moving and didn’t want to carry the extra clothes to the next place. I didn’t know what the minimum amount was and I also had sentimental articles in the mix. I put them all in a bag and left the bag at the bottom of the closet, knowing I could dig them out if I needed/wanted them. After not touching or missing any of the clothes for a month or two I was able to justify donating the bag. This process is now the system I use for removing most of the unneeded things from my life. I’ve used it for kitchenware, books and office supplies too.

  29. I’ve spoken to a couple “no clutter” people. Their secret? They don’t have sentimental attachments to their stuff. I’ve attempted the Marie Kondo method, (borrowed the book through the library, didn’t buy it), but have massive amounts to go through still, as we uncover more stashes. Getting rid of things given to me feels akin to betrayal. But it’s time to move on and lighten the load.

    • Lake Livin'

      This is me… very rarely am I attached to a “thing.” I am certainly not a minimalist but do prefer a clutter-free and organized home. I would not be able handle tons of stuff jammed under the bed or in a closet. Plus, it makes it a lot easier to keep the house looking neat, which helps make it look cleaner than it actually is. 😀

  30. Mrs. Grumby is a long-time purger of that which is no longer needed. It took me some time to get there, and I still have a pair of ripped Carhartt jeans I just can’t part with (scarcity mentality) and a few other things. But over all we are pretty minimal, which is very liberating. We have downsized dramatically.
    I am forwarding this post to

  31. Sorry, didn’t complete my sentence. Forwarding this post to a couple of people that might benefit.

  32. Mr. Paul

    This article sure hit home with me. I also have a hard time getting rid of items that i longer need or particularly want. But i’m forcing myself to look at my stuff as “just” stuff. And that these things won’t make me any more happier if i keep them. Coupled with the fact i won’t want my house to look like a future episode of Hoarders. What makes all this a bit harder for me, is that i’m also the type of person who thinks that piles of this and that around me give me a sense of security. That there is comfort in these items should have tossed years ago. I’m now finding a greater sense of real control over my life in living in a neat, clean organized home. I guess we’re all works in progress.

  33. Michaela

    One thing I’ve figured out is that emotional attachments to things happen because of good memories. And good memories deserve to be honored, but the way to do that is not to keep the item that’s no longer useful, but to instead journal the memories and associations.

  34. I have been decluttering for going on ten years now. It’s been a PROCESS. I find myself returning to categories I’ve already worked through, and continue to find things I now don’t “need.”

    Have nearly cured the sentimental hurdle. I have built a digital archive of photos, scanned scrapbooky things, and notes. Doing the scrapbooks was a months-long project but it meant getting a half-dozen file boxes out of the house. And a great thing is, I can now set my computer screensaver to one of those directories, and see a slideshow of the scrapbook images any time the screensaver goes on.

    This year it’s the old photo albums. 🙂

    The only “things” that I generally don’t let go of are art objects that we’ve picked up on our vacations.

  35. When I got hooked into pursuing financial freedom, I naturally stumbled on this idea of minimalism and refusing to buy into consumerism – for personal and obviously financial reasons. I recently bought my first house and so far have been diligent about purging through my old stuff, only bringing over the things I find useful. I have also been stingy about buying new stuff (furniture and linens and what-not) – buying them only when I absolutely need them and when I can get a great deal.

    My partner is the exact opposite and always tells me that he can’t get rid of stuff “in case he needs them” saying he’s actually saving money because then he wouldn’t have to buy said product when he needed them. He has a hard time letting go of stuff so he has just brought them all over to our new house. I’m hoping over time we can find a compromise. I do believe he’s operating from scarcity mentality like you said. And all I can do is to not to buy into it too. This is why I enjoy reading other people’s thoughts for inspiration!


  1. Achieve Financial Success By Leaving Money Sins Behind : The Saturday Weekend Review #208 - Canadian Budget Binder - […] blog, Surviving and Thriving by Donna Freedman. It was a post that she wrote about when it’s hard to…

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