Stuff and Stress: Why Are They So Hard to Dump?

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This is a guest post by my inspirational friend, speaker and author, Sam Davidson who recently published his third book, Simplify Your Life. He has guest posted on this blog before about ambitions. He is the co-founder of Cool People Care and Proof Branding, and lives in Nashville with his wife and daughter.

One thing I’ve been telling people as I’ve been traveling and speaking about my latest book, Simplify Your Life, is this: If it doesn’t add value to your life, dump it.

Then, I quip: This includes things like boyfriends.

But, from what I understand, dumping a boyfriend is tough. And dumping a terrible one may be tougher. Look how long it took Ann to get rid of Andy in “Parks and Recreation.” You certainly have friends who need to ditch their current fling because they’re being manipulated, led on, or even ignored.Simplify Your Life

It’s tough, the dumping. It can be awkward, unhappy, and isn’t nearly as fun as the beginning of a relationship when everyone is still putting their best face forward and it’s new and time to discovery mysterious things about the other person. Dumping, in a word, sucks.

But, when it has to be done, you have no other choice than to do it. And when it’s done, your world is clearer, you feel lighter, and you’re ready to tackle what’s next.

News flash: dumping stuff and stress are much the same.

It can be tough to actually fill a box of things you don’t need and then donate it. Many of us like the pressure to perform that comes with stress. We easily complain about hating the unnecessary stuff and stress in our life, but when it comes to putting up, we’re not very good at shutting up. We’d rather keep complaining than taking action, even if we know the ultimate outcome will make life so much better than it is now.

Consider this your call to action. If you’re stuck in a rut where you can’t get rid of that which ails you, consider these three tips to get started:

Get rid of one thing right now. Inertia can be tricky; it takes a lot to get going. But, once we take that first step, the second, third, and twentieth are so much easier. Look around right now and find one item you know you don’t need and trash it, donate it, or give it to a friend. Is it a coat you haven’t word in a decade? A set of placemats that have never been used? An old iPod. Find it and dismiss it. Now.

Quit something. Much of our stress is caused by situations we don’t want to be in, yet somehow we voluntarily ended up there. Chances are, you’re taking on too many volunteer commitments, like committees, weekly meetings, or clubs. Look at your calendar. Which one do you look forward to the least. Write an email (yes, right now) to the chairperson and let them no you no longer have the time to commit that the group requires. Apologize. Wish them well. Your week now just became less stressful. Imagine how much better you’ll be at the other commitments you have now that you have less stress!

Find a centering activity. More and more, people are placing value in experiences rather than things (case in point: we like watching the movie, but we don’t have to own it – thanks, Netflix/Qwikster). Instead of rushing out to fill the space by the thing you got rid of or apply your new-found happiness in the form of shopping, go for a walk with a friend. Sip tea. Read a book outdoors. Do something for yourself that you enjoy and life will be even better.

What do you do to get rid of stress or stuff? Share your tip below and one lucky commenter will receive a signed copy of my latest book, Simplify Your Life.

Posted in Blog, Books, Guest Post, Life, Personal Development and tagged , , , , .


  1. Pingback: Weekly Roundup – 10.21.11 | Sam Davidson

  2. As always, this is a great post, Sam! :)

    I try to spend one full day every month de-cluttering and de-stressing. It’s so easy to accumulate things, but I’m learning do constantly ask myself: “Do I really NEED this?” Most of the time, the answer is ‘no.’ I’m learning a big difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’ and only focus on the things I need for right now.

    • It is tough to “let-go” Kate! My process began late last year when I moved across the country. Now it is a way of life! I do it with digital stuff too! Amazing what we keep!

  3. Pingback: FOCUS: To Stress or Not! (v4n23) | Richard Dedor

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