5 questions to ask every item you own

…whoa. dude that’s…whoa…

As part of my pre-40 goals, I’m getting rid of half of everything I have (again!). I was kind of a packrat through my 20s, and though I’ve been ejecting stuff for a good decade now, still there is more to go…

How does it go? Well, these days, it goes like this: I talk to my stuff. I ask it questions, and I listen for answers. As silly as this is, it seriously helps! When no one is looking, give this a try.

Hold the object in question, look at it, and ask it:

  1. Are you mine?
    Does the thing even belong to you, or is it an accident of fate that you just happen to be holding it now?
  2. When is the last time we did something together?
    Do you use the thing often? Set a limit for what is an acceptable threshold (2 years is mine). It could be 2 days or 20 years, but whatever it is stick to it. Or at least have the decency to tell the thing why it is an exception to your rule. You owe it that much.
  3. How are you feeling?
    This is a longevity gauge question. How much utility is left in said thing? Will it need replacing soon? Or should it maybe have been replaced already?
  4. Do you like it here or would you rather be somewhere else?
    Are you using and maintaining this thing appropriately, or would someone else use it more and maintain it better? I like to think that everything has an ideal home, and I should really only keep the things that I am an ideal home for. This is your Velveteen Rabbit question. Be gentle with your thing and yourself on this one.
  5. If we took a picture together, would that be enough to remember each other by?
    Sentimental objects are only sentimental while you’re sentimenting. The rest of the time they just take up space. I have pictures of a lot of things that used to be mine, these take up very little space and allow for all the sentimenting I need in most cases. I remember my former thing other fondly, and even have a slideshow on my computer (which can run as a screensaver or rotating background) of many of these sentimental items. But I don’t have to dust them anymore, and I’m not paying to keep them in a box somewhere “just in case”. I sometimes dream of the thing’s new life with it’s new owner, and I wish them both well. Not unlike an old girlfriend, who I sincerely want to be happy in her new relationship. It feels good to let go, keeping only the pictures of the good times.

Have fun talking to inanimate objects. I dare you to do it and tell me if you don’t feel better AND have less stuff when you’re done…