Usually it is fairly easy to get rid of certain types of clutter: food storage containers with missing lids, broken items that you don't intend to repair, clothing that has not been worn in years, etc.
However, when it comes to items that you have inherited, that can be another story.
The rule of thumb is that you don't need to keep something just because it belonged to a beloved relative. If it's something you don't like and don't use, and you've stored it in the back of a closet, in your garage, basement, or anywhere else (including a off-site storage unit) for years, it's not serving anyone. If it is sitting on a shelf, a table or any other flat surface and collecting dust, you are not honoring that possession and it should go elsewhere.
Are you really honoring the memory of that person if the item is not being used? It's much better to get the item back into use, even if the person using it is not you. Keep in mind that your relative's intention was not to burden you with their things. They want you to enjoy the item.
This is similar to what I call "gift guilt". We believe that if someone gives us something, we have to keep it. Not true! If you don't like something that they gave you, either return it to the store where it was purchased or pass it on to someone else who will make use of it. Perhaps another family member would appreciate having the inherited item. Perhaps you can sell it and use the money for something you want. Give that item a whole new life by passing it on to someone else who can make it part of their home.
If you want to remember the item, take a picture of it before you pass it on. It will take up a lot less room that way.
I have worked with numerous clients over the years who were holding onto furniture, jewelry, dishes, handkerchiefs and knick knacks because they were given to them.
My theory is that the point of holding onto items that you have inherited is to remember the person. Having 100 handkerchiefs in a container that you never open and look at is not necessary in order remember them. I think that keeping a few items or collectibles makes more sense if they are special to you. If you hold onto all of them, just because, I do not believe you are honoring them in the way you should.
Sometimes, we are holding onto items that we have inherited from our adult children because they moved out of the home and left them behind or they do not have enough room to store the items where they live. I have seen this happen time and again and the items end up staying where they are and not being used. This is another form of inheritance, by default.
If the items are taking up space that you want for another purpose and you have the items for a long time, you might decide it's time for a change. Send pictures of the items to that person and let them know you will donating any items they don't specifically tell you they want. Be sure to include a deadline in the not-too-distant future for responding to you. Set a deadline for them to pick up the items or when you intend to have them mailed or shipped to them.
Setting deadlines to accomplish this is vital to your success.
Remember, your home is not a storage unit for others. Honor your home by creating an environment that is condusive to your style of living and that brings you joy. Do not inherit clutter!
If you are overwhelmed and need help deciding what to keep, what to toss and what to donate or sell, contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!