Uncluttering Thoughts and Beliefs

20_IdenticalYou know how some people hold onto stuff and others seem to be able to freely let go?

I often have to trick myself into letting stuff go.  Because, you know, stuff is worth something. Especially once I own it.  It’s the endowment effect, “the hypothesis that people ascribe more value to things merely because they own them.”

That’s true for me. My stuff is worth more once it’s mine. The identical item in the store? Not worth as much as mine on my shelf.

My attachment seems to be enhanced if there’s a story around the item: it came from a garage sale; a dear friend gave it to me; I got it on vacation as a trip memento; it was my great-great-grandmother’s; it was a super-bargain. Any and all of those stories burnish the value of the item for me.

Even if I know an item has lived beyond its usefulness, I frequently still hold onto it, often to be reminded of “the story.” Even if it’s in the way or possibly holding me back.

I’m aware of this dynamic when it comes to stuff. Once “stuff” becomes mine, it’s hard to part with. It’s suddenly shinier; prettier; sticky-er.

Recently I started to wonder if this tendency applies not only to things, but also to thoughts and beliefs.

Continue reading “Uncluttering Thoughts and Beliefs”

Possessions and Marking Ownership

A friend used to engrave his name and phone or social security number on things he owned. He painted tools with yellow, clearly marking them. He lent things out and these markings increased the odds of them being returned. Hard to miss the yellow shovel handle.

His Aunt used to have her name engraved on jewelry and mementos bought during her travels. I doubt she lent those things out; yet her items—inherited after her death—are almost all engraved with her initials or her full name, carefully etched, sometimes in tiny letters.

I wonder if it was a family thing?

Or do we humans simply want to make sure our possessions are clearly identified—mine! —and we creatively come up with different ways to do it?


Daily Post-Inspired: Wonder