Self Development By Mae Davies / November 5, 2014 In Chinese Feng Shui, it is recommended to let go of the old in order to receive and welcome the new. In practical application, this means letting go of old stuff in order to pave way for incoming things. For short, what goes in must come out. Unfortunately for most, we tend to accumulate stuff because the amount of things coming out of the house is disproportionate to what’s coming in. Yes, we tend to buy stuff and regularly receive gifts. But we end up not using all of them, so do we get rid of them? Some we do, but certainly not all, and this imbalance can lead to over-accumulation of things. If you don’t know how to organize your life and get rid of clutter, then read on. Below is a list of household items that you can easily downsize: Books Yes, you have your prized ‘keepers,’ but certainly there are titles that you can donate to a library or charity. With the advent of Kindle and reading eBooks from a gadget, there’s no reason to be scared of never being able to access your favorite book again. CDs/DVDs/Records Apart from your collectibles, donate or sell the rest. With the technology nowadays, you can store your files in different formats and play music or movies from your computer. Clothes Keep one box/ suitcase per season. A good rule of thumb to sorting is separating items by how often you have used them. If you haven’t worn it in the last 6 months, chances are it won’t be worn again. Donate to charity so you can downsize. The same can be applied to shoes. Toys Having kids means doting friends and relatives will routinely give presents, mostly in the form of toys. A seemingly harmless ‘toy collection’ can easily get out of hand if you don’t routinely check and sort them. A good guideline is to go with age: rattles and teethers obviously can go out if your child is already 2, for example. Toys that have been outgrown can be donated to charity so other kids can enjoy them and to prevent your place from looking like a daycare center. The same can be applied to children’s clothes. Kitchenware Keep pots, pans, and dishes that you use often. A really good china collection is enough to keep; don’t keep more, especially if you’re not even displaying them. Do you really need 3 dozen mugs? Items that have been given as gifts but you’ve never used and don’t have any plans to can be re-gifted or donated to charity. Appliances There is no use to keep broken appliances, especially if they are modern (antique ones may have some value). They take up space and gather dust. If you have no plans to get them fixed, then downsize them and take them out. Medicine/Cosmetics Head over to your medicine cabinet and take out everything in it. Chances are there will be cough medicine or pills that are already expired. No need to keep those; discard them properly. Cosmetics are only good for 6 months, and while most don’t have an expiration date, it is advisable to get rid of them if they have been sitting in there way longer than 6 months. Photos/Postcards/Letters Yes, we can all agree that photos are no. 1 on the list to keep, but when the size of your photo collection is as big as carry-on luggage (like mine is), then it’s probably time to downsize that collection. I went through hundreds, if not thousands, of photos; this was well before the digital camera age. What I got rid of: duplicates, photos that didn’t feature a person or a beautiful or memorable landscape in it, and others that I really didn’t care to keep anymore. The same can be applied to postcards and letters. What else are you storing unnecessarily? Undisplayed artwork? Unused office supplies? Crafting materials? Remember, to ensure good flow in your house, you need to let go of things you don’t really use or need anymore. When you downsize, it will allow you to treasure only the important and give you more room to enjoy those important things. I am reminded of a U2 album entitled “All that you can’t leave behind” that the band released many years back. The cover photo features the band in an airport carrying only a bag each. The message for me is to take only what I can’t leave behind and the rest I can let go. This really forces me to prioritize what is truly essential and not be bothered by non-essentials, especially stuff that I have outgrown.