This September, I realized it was time. Past time, really.
I eyed the three long shelves stretching across the back wall of my craft room, piled with over 60 hat blocks I had collected in my previous profession as a milliner.
These blocks had been the tools of my trade. Hand-stretching a felt or straw over each wooden form makes a unique hat. Some blocks were antiques I’d scored on eBay or thrift shops and others I’d watched being hand-carved by an artisan in Florence.
“I’m a professional organizer now,” I told myself. I make myself a hat every now and then, but I have no desire to be a professional milliner again.
So why was I having such a hard time letting go of these hat blocks?
3 STICKING POINTS
As often happens with my clients, I had slammed up against a mental wall preventing me from making decisions about what to keep and what to let go.
These mental sticking points fall into three categories: Emotional, Practical, and Financial.
1. THE EMOTIONAL STICKING POINT
We get attached to our stuff, which makes it hard to let go. There are the emotions of guilt (Grandma gave it to me!), sentimentality (My son made it!), nostalgia (I’ve had it since I was seven!), and even anthropomorphizing (These shoes will be sad they can’t walk around with me anymore!).
The hat blocks definitely hit my nostalgic button. These little sculptures represent someone I used to be. They remind me of special times in my life: studying millinery in Seattle with Wayne Wichern, showing my fledgling line of hats at my uncle’s store in NYC, opening Head Over Heels shoe and hat boutique.
2. THE PRACTICAL STICKING POINT
There was also a practical element to my desire to hold onto the hat blocks. After all, these are tools.
Trying to talk myself out of getting rid of them, I heard myself coming up with all the same fear-based excuses I hear from my clients.
Sure, there’s some truth in these thoughts. But I hadn’t used most of them in years. To be honest, I was holding onto these blocks just in case someday I might want to make a bunch of hats. A very unlikely scenario.
3. THE FINANCIAL STICKING POINT
Money can have a big hold over us. I had amassed this collection of hat blocks over several years and paid a good bit for most of them. The thought of giving away something of value was tough to stomach.
When my clients tell me they paid a lot of money for an item, I remind them that the money is already spent. Let’s see, if I paid $250 for that hat block and I’ve owned it for over 25 years…that’s $10 per year. Yeah, I’d say I’ve gotten my money’s worth.
Right now, sitting on my shelf and not being used, these items are worth exactly $0.
What if I sell them? We often think our stuff is valuable, especially if we paid a lot for it. But markets change, value doesn’t always appreciate, and the object’s condition deteriorates. If you can find a buyer (and that’s a big if), your stuff is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it today in its present condition.
Why was I having such a hard time letting go of these hat blocks? Now I knew: they made me nostalgic for a me I no longer was, I was afraid I’d regret letting them go, and I wanted to recoup some of the dollars I’d invested in them.
Catch my next blog to find out how I managed to cut my hat block collection in half and to find the key to unlock your own clutter!
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