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You Don’t Use It, But You Feel Attached to It

Well, your cat doesn't mind the clutter.
Well, your cat doesn’t mind the clutter.

Continuing on the subject of the minimalist lifestyle: the first thing to do is to stop buying stuff you don’t need and probably will never actually use, and the second thing is to get rid of the similar stuff you already have. That can be a problem if you’re emotionally attached to things — and you’re almost certainly attached to at least a few, if not more.

Emotional attachment isn’t the only problem, it’s also necessary to find the time and the energy, and to organize yourself. However, those three can be rationally solved. Emotional attachment is something else.

Once upon a time, your grandmother made you a sweater. You still keep your son’s baby clothes, or your daughter’s childhood toys. A souvenir from a vacation in Spain. And from a trip to Mexico. Some ugly thing your mother gave you — you never liked it, but how can you throw away or give away something your Mom gave you?

The list can go on and on, and you feel attached to every single item on it. How could you ever throw it away, even if it clutters your living space so much you have trouble moving properly, or finding anything you actually need?

Here’s what I do.

I go through my stuff and get rid of everything I don’t need or use and don’t feel attached to (by getting rid of it I mean either actually throwing it away, selling it or giving it to someone who needs it). I look at the things I don’t need but feel attached to, touch them, remember why I’m emotional about them, and leave them where they are or place them somewhere else.

About six months later, I repeat the process. I will still feel attached to some of the things I was emotional about, but the attachment to some others will fade away. It’s all in the head anyway. My memories and feelings are still there, it’s not them I’m throwing away. And so, I’ll keep some stuff, and get rid of the other.

Approximately six months later, there we go again.

Rinse and repeat, as many times as needed.

That way, I’m giving myself time to say goodbye to at least some of the things, and to strengthen the memories and the feelings inside me, which is where they belong. When the time comes, while I’m still fond of those things, I no longer feel so attached to them. It’s easier to let go and to clear some space.

I’ve found out that by clearing some space I’m clearing up my head as well, and making room for things which really matter. Feelings for people, not for objects symbolizing them. Fondness for memories themselves, not for souvenirs.

I’ve found out that it becomes really easy to let go, because better will inevitably come.


A writer, a reader, a dreamer. Dreaming myself into existence.

4 thoughts on “You Don’t Use It, But You Feel Attached to It

  1. I’m doing a major clean out since we are having construction done and have to move our furniture and belongings all around for it. I’m getting rid of what I don’t need.


  2. I am usually very attached emotionally to everything i have, but less than 2 years ago, I had to run away from my country to a new one with nothing except some clothes (and my kids of course). This taught me that nothing is permanent. Nothing is important


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