Use It, Love It, or Lose It

One of my five basic organizing principles is “Use it, love it, or lose it.” I teach this to all my clients, and it becomes the basis for decision-making about what to keep or what to let go.

I am in the process of applying this same principle in my own home. I have a very small collection of commercial videos, on VHS and on DVD. Some of them I have never watched. With our TV shows on hiatus for the summer, I decided that this was a good time for us to finally watch these videos and then send them on their merry way — either by donating them to a thrift shop, or selling them on eBay if there is a sufficient market.

Here’s an example of the kind of thing I mean. A few years before my husband and I were married, our PBS station aired one of Leonard Bernstein’s “Young People’s Concerts”, featuring the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, from a few decades earlier. We had a Philharmonic subscription at the time, and we were enraptured by the show. When some of the concerts were released on VHS tape, my husband bought them for me: three videotapes featuring two concerts each. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to watch them.

When I was dusting my media bookcase recently, I saw these videos and recalled that we had never watched them. We recently celebrated our 22nd anniversary, so we have had them even longer than that. That means we have moved TWICE with these videos. I was so excited when he gave them to me, yet we never made the time to watch them. Why did we still own them?

So we made it a priority to watch all of them over the last couple of weeks. They were a delight, and even our 20-year old watched a little. (“This is weirdly entertaining,” she remarked.) Now I’m ready to let them go. I’m a little embarrassed that I kept them for all these years, but I’m happy that we finally enjoyed them and that someone else will get to enjoy them, too.

I’m determined to watch all our VHS tapes by the end of the summer, and maybe even some of the DVDs, too.

I bet there are things that you got in a flurry of excitement but never used and are still holding on to. Take a look around your home and see what you can let go.

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