Now is the perfect time to cull through our worldly possessions and pass on unwanted things to folks who can use them. (Photo: Shutterstock).


By Mary Lynn Bruny

Now is the perfect time to cull through our worldly possessions and pass on unwanted things to folks who can use them. Due to something deep in our DNA, many of us are drawn to reorganize and pitch things this time of year. We are over our holiday period of excess and feel a primal need to regain balance and order.

Part of this is we want to make room for the new stuffage we now possess. Not only have we received gifts but there’s that other holiday sneakiness: namely while buying gifts for others we often buy a few things for ourselves. (You’re shopping and run across that wonderful item. It’s exactly what you desperately wanted but had no idea until you saw it. Of course you had to buy it.) Thus it’s time to purge some older things, something I love doing.

I can’t stand to have things around I don’t like or am not going to use. I view them as real estate intruders who do not deserve the space they take. (“Out with you, mean-spirited bathing suit!”) I really get joy from a well organized home. As you can deduce, I’m a very exciting person. (“What did I do this weekend? I cleaned out our spice drawer! Yeah!”)

But while some of us are enthused by this process, other folks – the collectors/hoarders – have a hard time letting go of things, even if they truly don’t want them. Apparently, this has to do with their emotional attachment to things. There are probably deep underlying issues that they should deal with in many expensive and emotionally trying sessions of therapy. But until then, I’d like to offer these folks a few insights to help them mentally part with unwanted possessions:

The tax of stuff
Every object in your home requires a mental and physical tax of sorts: you have to think about it (taking limited brain space), store it (taking valuable physical space), and maintain it (requiring actual time and effort). If you move, you have to pay to have it transported. Or worse, pay to store it (usually forever) in an expensive dark hole of doom and gloom. Is this object really worth all this? Not sure? Consider this: would you rebuy it at half price?

Dead people’s stuff
Lots of us hold onto the objects of someone we love who has died. Guess what? This stuff is not the dead person. These are just objects they had (and maybe didn’t even like that much). So keep your wonderful memories of this person and a few of their things you actually like or care about, and send the rest into the universe to be appreciated by others.

Serviceable stuff
Lots of us keep stuff because it’s practical or decent quality, not because we actually like it or use it anymore. We feel badly giving away something that’s serviceable, one of my least favorite descriptions except for something like a furnace. (“I didn’t think my girlfriend was all that great, but she was perfectly serviceable so I kept her around.”) Breaking news: despite the pandemic feeling like an eternity, life, it turns out, is pretty short. If you don’t need it, don’t surround yourself with stuff (or people, for that matter) that you really don’t like.

So clean out your abode. Let your stuff find new, appreciative homes and lighten your load. Warning: this may lead to you feeling like it’s okay to acquire a few more new things. It’s a vicious stuffage cycle with us kooky humans.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics for At Home Colorado. Contact her at [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to