It starts innocently enough. A trip to a souvenir shop. Look – a cute pelican snowflake glass globe! A small trinket. A tiny memento of a good time.

Fast forward several years. One trinket has turned into ten. Couldn’t quite decide between the pelican salt and pepper shakers and the Christmas tree ornament. Heck, get them both.

Fast forward again. Somehow, pelicans have taken over every available horizontal surface. Plus there are pelican T-shirts, dishtowels, wall hangings, door mats and clocks.
Somehow, pelicans have gotten into every last blessed corner of the house, in every drawer, and in boxes stored in the basement. It’s a pelican infestation.

Or maybe it’s red blouses on sale. Or books. Or crafting supplies. Or, you name it.

Stuff has a habit of taking over. So here are some suggestions on how to stop the madness:

Don’t even get started. Truly the memories of the trip or family reunion or whatever are the most important thing. Second, the photos. On thing I’ve been doing on a regular basis is making sure my digital photos appear in an actual, hold-in-your-hands album that people can pick up and look at. (Remember those days?) I use Kodak Gallery to upload my photos, click and drag them to an album feature on the site, and then receive a beautifully printed photo album complete with captions a week later. It’s a little pricey and there are many services that do this same thing, perhaps for less. But I am used to the interface there so I continue to use that one. But whatever you decide to do, try to refrain from starting your own pelican collection.

Look at your space and take it seriously. I mean, if you have 99 books and the bookcase holds 100 books – you’re good. If you have 101 books, you’ve got a problem. This applies to clothing, craft supplies, food bought in bulk, and gifts bought throughout the year for Christmas. Space is finite. Cabinets don’t actually burst at the seams; stuff just overflows onto everything else. Clutter ensues, big time. We all live in the time/space continuum. Respect the three-dimensional world and make sure everything has a place to live.

Give yourself a little emotional distance from the object. Stuff easily takes on emotional power and soon becomes more important than even – you! Do you find yourself thinking, “I can’t give that up, it’ll feel so bad,” or “My mother/brother/friend gave that to me and it feels terrible to think about giving it away.” Does a part of you think, “I own this, therefore I am”?

The truth is that an object originally started as a yard of cloth, a bit of thread, a piece of clay, or a sheet of paper. It’s an interesting exercise to look at the object that seems to hold so much power over you and consider its origins.

If you're feeling possessed and trapped by your stuff, the best thing to do is to slowly but surely de-clutter. Feeling overwhelmed? Don't know where to start? Contact us to receive our FREE ebook: The Getting Started Handbook: Overcoming Fear, Procrastination and Overwhelm When Starting An Organizing Project.

Author's Bio: 

Amy Gray is an organizer and Feng Shui practitioner as well as the owner of Empty Your Nest Professional Organizing. She can help you clear clutter and set up personalized organizing systems in your home and office so you can work and live peacefully and productively. Download your FREE copy of The Getting Started Handbook: Overcoming Fear, Overwhelm and Procrastination when Starting an Organizing Project by visiting emtpyyournest.com.