Hello every one, this is Katherine Keller and every day I share answers to peoples questions about business life, inspiration, motivation, and finding joy with less. Today I’m taking a question from Leslie, and Leslie writes:

I’ve read your blog and watched your InstaStories on the massive house purge you and your kids have gone through this summer. I really want to go through this process in my own home but I keep coming across things that I think are too sentimental or it is something I “might” need. In other words, I’m having trouble being as cut throat about things as you have been. Any advice to help me?”

First of all, I feel a very URGENT sense to answer this question. Let me just say, getting rid of things you love just for the sake of having less “stuff” in your house is NOT the goal.

I mentioned in the blog post {and I’ll include a link in the description} that the kids and I went through every single drawer, cabinet, cupboard, closet….everything, this summer. There were about 5 rules we went by of “have we used it in the last 90 days or will we use it in the next 90 days?” “Can we replace it in less than 20 minutes or for under $20?” “Do we LOVE it?” “Is it something my kids will want when I die?” “When my kids graduate in 4 years and I am free to travel the world, is it something I want to box up and put in a storage unit?”

We donated 7 carloads of stuff, threw away 4 trash bins worth of stuff, and have sold over $1,000 worth of stuff. We are estimating that we cleaned out about 30-40% of the stuff in our house.

But, going back to Leslie’s question, there were a few items that were really difficult for us. For instance, my maternal grandmother’s piano. I have probably only sat at that piano 4 times in the last 6 years. My children don’t play the piano. It’s just a big piece of furniture that has become a picture frame holder.

When my grandmother passed away, I wanted that piano because my earliest memories of her was me sitting and listening to her practice for hours. I loved listening to her play. And the piano was my way of holding on to that memory.

But in reality, if Grandma could speak to me right now, she’d say, “Give that thing to someone who will actually use it. Give it to someone who will get tremendous joy from it. Don’t let it sit here and be a dust collector. Your memories of me will stay the same with or without the piano.”

I knew it was the RIGHT thing to do, but it sat heavy on my heart because we tend to put a lot of value into THINGS being a holder of our memories.

That being said, I also own my paternal grandmother’s bible. This thing is worn out, the binding is broken, she read the entire bible every year. It has her handwriting in it. And just like the piano, this is something that is very special to me but I don’t use it hardly at all.

However, unlike the piano, this is not something I could give to someone else and they would get great joy out of it. In fact, no one outside of the family would ever even want this bible. Plus, it is something that I would like to pass on to my children someday.

The purpose of cleaning your house of all of this stuff is to feel lighter, less stress. We look around the house now and it has the things we LOVE and the things we need. Nothing mediocre…nothing, “just in case” or “maybe someday”. After we went through my daughter’s room, she woke up the next morning and said, “I haven’t slept that well in a LONG time.” There is a lightness that comes with letting go.

But it is counterproductive if you throw out TOO much and then are left feeling sad or remorseful for having let go of some of your precious items that you loved.

Also, we do have a “maybe” box in the garage. This is stuff we have put away for now, to figure out if we REALLY need it or not. My caution is to be very judicious with what you put into your maybe box. We have probably about 15 or so items in the maybe box. Putting 20% of your household items in a maybe box is probably going to cause more chaos than good.

So those are a few of my tips for Leslie. I hope that was helpful. And if you found this valuable please pay it forward by sharing or tagging someone in the comments below.

Also, if you have a question you would like to have answered, just click here and get your question submitted. I look forward to seeing you in the next video and I hope you have a fabulous day!