This round of decluttering, reducing, and getting minimalist (one of my 2010 goals) is moving right along, and it's really rewarding and even fun to get rid of more unused items and re-organize what's left to use the free space in new ways. This weekend I made some huge changes (huge in my eyes, anyway), and had to deal with a few emotions that made me think about how I feel about "things".
Sometimes when I cut deep into something like my wardrobe, I'm left staring at a giant pile of clothes to take to Goodwill. I'm completely convinced in my decision, since I haven't worn any of those things in ages, but I can't help thinking I'm staring at a pile of wasted money. But what I need to realize is that I did get some use and value out of those clothes (for a time), and after I donate them other people will benefit from my purchases. When I think about it that way, it's easy to stand behind my clothes decisions (plus I love all the room in my closet now!).
The situation is a little more difficult when it comes to collectibles. I have a few items that I bought in the heat of the moment, which are really cool pieces, but truthfully now they are more of a burden. They aren't really the kind of knick-knacks I would take to Goodwill (plus they seem too valuable to give away), and I don't want to go the eBay route since I would really worry about safe shipping (since most of these are delicate and easily breakable, not to mention heavy!). I don't really mind being "stuck" with these items (I still like them), but this feeling definitely made me come up with a new rule for buying collectibles. Before I buy something, I'm going to start seriously thinking ahead, along the lines of "Will I really want to dedicate shelf space to this item in five years?" Or alternately, "Is this item cheap enough that I'll be OK with tossing it or giving it away when I lose interest?" I think this is a valuable lesson, and I'm happy this decluttering process taught it to me.