Decluttering & discovering your true self ~ by Andréia

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot so long ago, Colleen wrote an excellent post about discovering who we really are when decluttering. The post was “Who are you”.

I thought that post was great. It encouraged me to think about whom I had been before decluttering and who I am now. It made me think about what I want out of life, work and my home environment. Throughout my decluttering journey many times I have struggled with stuff related to who I was a long time ago as opposed to whom I am now.

One example of that were my cassette tapes which I got rid of. While they were all important to my teenage self and listened and cared for back them, they had no importance in my adult life, and therefore became clutter and a burden. I remember my toys from my childhood. They are all gone, with one single exception. I remember most of my toys and even have pictures as a child with some of them. However if I still had them they would just be another collection of stuff to clutter up my home. I hold their memories dear to my heart. Not so sure I would be so found of the actual objects to this day. As for holding your toys for your kids, unless you get detached from them (i.e. you REALLY DON’T CARE if they are broken) you will never let them go and will never let your children touch them.

On the other hand I have DVDs of my favourite movies (Star Wars – original trilogy – and The Lord of the Rings) which I have watched over and over again and, therefore, is not clutter but a cherished collection which shows my nerdy side.

I also found stuff that I really like on the internet. I like comic strips from new artists. I follow four blogs which publish them daily. I went to a comic books fair and met one author, bought his book, got it autographed and took a picture with him. It was a very enjoyable moment and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

But what does any of it have to do with decluttering? Well if I had never decluttered I would never had opened space to change, to discover who I am today. We change every day, but if we hang on to objects of the past, if we hold ourselves back we fail to enjoy today. I loved to play with my toys as a child, but no matter how many of them I had today that time has long gone. I had a great time as a teenager, but my memories cannot be held in objects. I enjoyed my young adult years, my college time, but no object from that time will capture those memories back. It was only by letting go of objects, stuff no longer used or cared for that I opened up space for new interests and new people in my life (a.k.a. my children – LOL).

So, think about your life. What do you enjoy today? What are your interests now? Apart from a few mementos, we must direct our lives and objects to be useful today and to our life as it is and not some distant memory from the past.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something that you are keeping “just in case” it fits you again some day.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
  • Getting the stuff out of your home It has come to my attention, both through comments on my blog and through real life experience, that one of the issues people have with their clutter, once they finally decide to be rid of […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Great post Andreia, thank you.
    Likewise I too have found that only be releasing stuff that was once important I have been able to take up new experiences. I kept a couple of childrens books and tried reading them to my nieces and nephew who were not the slightest bit interested in Paddington stories – no pictures. I also got rid of my tapes years ago when flitting (moving) once – felt great!
    I’m off to have a fresh look at who am I now? And see if there is anything no longer relevant lurking somewhere 🙂

  2. LOVE this post, Andreia! I hope to open myself up to new experiences too. And, well, I am trying to pick back up on something I used to be interested in – – quilting. The last time I quilted was about 10 years ago. I didn’t accumulate too much stuff as a new quilter and I did declutter some unnecessary things. This Friday I am taking the day off work to take a whole day quilting class. At least I think I am. At last count, there were just two of us signed up and they may cancel. We’ll see.

    Hopefully some other new activities strike my fancy. Ooooh and even better, maybe these new activities won’t require accumulating STUFF! 🙂

  3. Andreia – Excellant post! Once a friend told me her variation of a saying, it went like this “How can you expect a door to open, if you do don’t clise the one behind you first”. It’s so true we expect life to bring us new opportunities while we hang onto the past.

    • Moni,
      With a little variation on your friends quote, my Mom has always said, “when one door closes another one opens”.
      I have also felt that when we declutter that which does not serve us any longer, we make room for new opportunities and experiences to come into our lives. And, that which we declutter through selling and/or donating, brings new opportunities and experience to the people that purchase them as well. It’s a win-win.

  4. I don’t have a problem with deciding to keep a few small mementos, but my main problem is that my mom wants me to keep them more than I want to keep them. The worst part about this is, it’s my stuff! So I should be able to do with it what I want, in my opinion. It’s just hard to get that thought across to her…

    • Kayla, could you give them to her? Or does she already have too much stuff and this would be adding to it? It IS your stuff, and you CAN do whatever you want with it!!

  5. This is a great post and timely for me, because this is where I’m at on my decluttering journey right now.
    We live in an apartment and have moved every 3 years or so, and while I have managed to get rid of a bunch of stuff each time I pack to move, it still takes me forever to unpack once we’re moved into the new place, mostly because it’s such a drag. And this last move, as I was packing and unpacking, I realized there was stuff I had been packing for each move automatically because I considered it stuff I had to take with me for sentimental reasons, but that when I stopped and actually asked myself if I really still wanted these things, there was a lot of stuff I discovered I was just keeping because it had been important to me in the past and was tied into the idea of who I was in the past.
    I’m not so much worried about the “making room for new experiences” part, but it was an eye opener to realize that I was keeping things because I thought I was supposed to, because they were attached to this idea of who I was as a person, even though I was no longer that same person. Like if I got rid of these things, I would somehow be betraying who I was.
    It’s funny how our idea of self gets attached to objects. I realized years ago that there have been times that someone gave me a present that surprised me because it’s not something I would have picked for myself. But then when I would get those presents, I would think in the back of my head that maybe the person bought it for me because they thought it matched my personality, that maybe they knew who I was better than I did, and so I should keep the present because it suited me better than I thought I did. Very strange.

  6. I really enjoyed this post Andreia, thank you. Perhaps we hang onto things from our past lives because we are afraid of change, when instead we should try to embrace the future and its possibilities and not allow ourselves to be limited by the past as represented by objects from that time. There are a few things in our house which belonged to our parents and grandparents which I really cherish, I enjoy displaying them and taking care of them, but there are also many, many things which relate back to the days when I played tennis, rode my bike with the kids, needed foreign language dictionaries and grammar books, and the list goes on. Those things are gradually leaving the house as I accept that they don’t belong in our life as it is today.

  7. A very thoughtful and thought-provoking post, Andreia. You’ve helped me consider more carefully just who I am and why I’m hanging on to certain things. Hmm.