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Get Rid Of What You Don’t Need

book shelf project 1 ~ striatic {notes}
Creative Commons License photo credit: striatic

“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary” – Pablo Picasso

Just as there is a time to create more of what you want in your life, there is also a time to destroy what you don’t want.  When you think about improving your life you often focus on the things you would like to have but don’t.  You then focus on bringing those things into your life.

But you don’t often think about the things you already have in your life that you need to get rid of.  Many times you carry a lot of stuff with you that has outlived it’s useful life.  When that happens you need to destroy parts of your life before you can create more.

Be like a forest fire

I’m sure there are many things you would like to create in your life, but what would you like to destroy?  Are there skills you use regularly that you don’t enjoy much?  Are there people in your life who you just don’t connect with anymore?  Is your home filled with a bunch of stuff that you no longer use?

When you destroy parts of your life you are making room for new parts.  You are making room for creation.  Just like when a forest fire burns up the dead parts and makes room for new growth, you are destroying what is already dead so that new growth can occur.

Getting rid of physical stuff

My current “destruction” project is to de-clutter my apartment.  I’m surprised that even in a relatively small space, so much stuff can sit around and not be used (or even remembered!).

Already, I’ve recycled/donated/thrown away magazines from 1995, papers from college, clothes I forgot I even had, out of date electronics, and books I had read once and hadn’t looked at in 10 years.  It’s amazing the physical stuff that can pile up in your life.

Getting rid of non-physical stuff

Most of us are carrying around with us an amazing amount of useless physical stuff, but what about less tangible things?

For instance, the way that we see ourselves is subject to creation and destruction.  Hopefully the image that we carry of ourselves matches who we really are.  But what if it doesn’t?

A couple of years ago I quit a job that I hated.  But along with the job, I was also quitting a vision that I had of myself, one that involved being what I thought “everyone” wanted me to be but that really didn’t match my best self very well.

When I destroyed that vision of myself I opened my life up for new opportunities that much better suited me.  I was carrying around a vision of who I was, that frankly, was not who I was.  I burned it up in the fire, and something new grew in it’s place.

Identify what you don’t need

So how do you know which things you need to get rid of?  Here are a few ways to tell that something needs to go from your life.

You’ve forgotten it even existed – This is mostly for the physical stuff that we have, but when you don’t even remember that you own something, it’s time to get rid of it.  Someone else can probably make better use of it.

You’re bored with it – This can be in regards to both physical and non-physical stuff.  If you have something in your life that you once enjoyed but now find boring, it’s time for that thing to go.  Maybe you have run 3 miles everyday for the last 10 years.  You enjoyed it at first and liked the challenge, but lately you just do it out of habit and are getting pretty bored with it.  Maybe it’s time to take up biking or swimming.  Even though you want to continue your workouts, it’s time for a new activity.

It feels like a chore – When parts of your life stop being enjoyable and start feeling like an item on your to-do list, it’s probably time for that thing to go.  Maybe you have a friend who you just don’t feel as connected to anymore and hanging out with them is starting to feel like an obligation.  Cutting down the amount of time you spend with them is probably a good idea because it makes room for a new, more fulfilling relationship.

It holds you back – Just like my example above of getting rid of a certain vision of myself, sometimes we hold onto a way of thinking that doesn’t do us any good.  What beliefs do you hold about yourself that limit your fulfillment?  Do you have patterns in your life that seem to sabotage what you want?  Take a look at the things that hold you back and then get rid of them!

Are there things that you could get rid of in your own life?  What tips do you have for getting rid of things you don’t need?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. Wondeful post! I’m a HUGE fan of getting rid of what I don’t need. I love to clean out my closet especially and sell or donate clothes that I no longer (or never did) wear. It always feels so good to know I’m getting rid of what I don’t need in my life. I love the way you organized this post. Great post!
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..what to do when you want to click "undo" =-.

  2. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Dani – Thanks! Getting rid of stuff always feels so good. I guess it frees up some of our energy in a way. 🙂

  3. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Tess – Haha! I loved this picture when I saw it…

    Hi Chris – Yeah, we need to go through the shelves and closets of our brain sometimes 🙂

  4. Hi Amanda,

    It’s been said that destruction is a form of creation. Life becomes stagnant when nothing is being destroyed. Maybe this is just a pessimistic way of looking at the world, but the truth is that not everyone sees things through the eyes of an optimist.

    Maybe instead of telling someone to find a job that they love, they need to be told to ditch the job that they hate. Instead of telling them that they need to organize their things, they need to get rid of the things they don’t need anymore first. Maybe the reason that some people have trouble finding their motivation is because all of their baggage, emotional and physical is holding them back. If you’re on any kind of journey, it is wise to shed all unnecessary items before you embark. This is why it has been said that the things you own, end up owning you.
    .-= Trey – Swollen Thumb Entertainment´s last blog ..The Problem With Impatient Bloggers =-.

  5. I’m glad you added in a point about getting rid of non-physical things too.

    In my martial arts I recently discovered I was holding onto my sword too strongly. When I released my grip my speed, power and ease increased tremendously.

    The same thing applies to personal life. Holding onto things doesn’t actually increase our worth in fact it often holds us back from reaching new heights.

    A quality martial art is awesome 😀
    .-= Jarrod – Warrior Development´s last blog ..How to Give Happiness When it Must be Taken =-.

  6. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Trey – I don’t think that is pessimistic at all. What would happen to us if nothing in our lives was ever destroyed? In order for there to be new life, there has to be death.

    Hi Jarrod – Sometimes when we change one thing it has an effect on lots of other things that we didn’t realize it would. It’s nice when that happens. 🙂

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