Sherry Young: It can be tough getting rid of so much 'stuff'

Published: Monday, June 11 2012 5:46 p.m. MDT

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Back in the day when I was choosing gifts for my wedding, who knew the traditional desire to own sterling silverware and fine china would become so passé? Seriously. I think the only reason my kids would want all these treasures now would be to sell them on eBay.

Last week, I was discussing this very thing with my friend Joan who told me she was going to sell her things on eBay and take a fun cruise instead of letting it all collect dust and willing it to her kids, who would run right out and do the same.

No polishing silver or washing dishes for the new generation — no Sirree Bob! Polishing silver and washing dishes was for back in the day when there were no apps for iPhones, or so they tell me.

And of course, the kids are smart because polishing silver and washing dishes takes a lot of time. Unless people have a maid, the things are only used for Christmas and Easter. Even at that, sometimes years go by while all that froo-froo catches dust because we mostly go visit kids for holidays. The grandchildren like to be home with their stuff.

Today, I tried, I mean I REALLY tried to sort through some of my stuff, of which I have way too much. I even found a tiered serving dish I got for my wedding that's never been used. I may have looked at it a few times thinking how great it would look on a buffet table, but it somehow never made the party.

In my last year's Christmas stocking I received a little book titled, "Organizing for Dummies."

It starts out with optimism; "Organization isn't inherited — organizing is learned. That means that whatever disorganized secrets lurk in your past or what a mess you see when you assess your present condition, you can become organized and stay that way for a lifetime."

"But," I tell myself, "My stuff is organized." And therein lies the rub.

It is not so much that I am disorganized, it's because parting with my stuff is as painful as keeping it. If I keep it, I need to polish it or store it or worse yet, remember I have it or where I put it. I look at the "stuff" and think, "but what if I ever need it" or "oh, it is so beautiful," fully knowing it will sit there just as it has been.

It's not like I don't have other stuff that I actually use.

Again the little book makes a valid suggestion, "PURGE: First, break out the Three Ds and the five W-A-S-T-E questions and clear your space of clutter by Dumping, Donating or Distributing everything you no longer need … purging can empower all your organizing efforts."

Just in case you are wondering about the W-A-S-T-E questions, they are evaluating suggestions:

"Worthwhile: Do you truly like it, is it important or does it contain any information you need to know?

Again: Will you really use this thing again or is it going to sit …or take up space? If you don't foresee needing … in a year … clear it out.

Somewhere else: Ask yourself: Can I easily find this somewhere else?

Toss: Many things have ways of slipping and sliding by the first three questions, so here's the acid test; Will anything happen if you toss it? If not, go ahead, unless it must be legally retained.

Entire: Do you need the entire thing?"

Huge sigh here.

Okay, I got the gist of what to do. But it is a painful process giving away bits and pieces of one's life.

Email: sasyoung2@aol.com

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