Most of us have way too many things. It’s only after decluttering that we realise the psychological effect of all our possessions, as if we have thousands of relationships tugging at us at all times.
That’s the analogy David Cain offers on Raptitude: everything you own is a relationship you’re in. Cain describes the process of going through all his possessions to evaluate whether they spark joy, as author Marie Kondo advises, and how liberating it is to free yourself from things that make you feel guilty or bad:
Our possessions are more psychological than physical. What a thing is is much less important than what it does to your mind when you own it. But it’s hard to see what each item does when you’re feeling the effect of a thousand such relationships at once. That’s why you need to audit every single object on its own, and why owning fewer things is better overall.
Probably the most common reason people keep things they’re not using is because they “have value” — meaning they once cost money. But the real value in things is the experience they create for us. Even things with a monetary value can lower the quality of our experience in a lot of ways, by making us feel guilty, taking up space, or keeping us preoccupied with goals we’re not really committed to. And the money is already gone anyway. The important question is always “What does it feel like to own this?” and you can have the answer in seconds when you hold it in your hands and ask.
Time to end some relationships to the things that are just taking up space and renew our relationships to the things we have that do spark joy.
Every Thing You Own is a Relationship You’re In [Raptitude]