Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Emotionally Detach from Objects

Here are eight simple principles that will keep you from being emotionally attached and controlled by your possessions.
  1. Your possessions do not have feelings
  2. They will not be upset that you got rid of them
  3. There will not be a void in your life with that object gone
  4. You own the object
  5. The object does not own you 
  6. There is no object that makes you a better person
  7. You will still feel empty inside after you buy the object
  8. That emptiness does not come from not having an object

We have all felt the guilt of getting rid of a nostalgic, sentimental, or once treasured item.  Our attachment to the item has less to do with the item itself and more to do with our emotional and psychological state. 

Things are just that: Things.  Inanimate man-made objects that get the chance to pass through our hands during our short stay on this fast spinning ball.

We must recognize the voice in our minds that says,
“I will be lonely without this object.”
“I will be incomplete without this object.”
“I will finally be happy when I get that object.”
“That object makes me who I am.”
“That object is a part of me.”

So much of our personal history is wrapped up in the things we carry. 
Are you still a winner without those trophies? 
Did your childhood exist without that stuffed animal? 

Objects are not bad; they just need to have a proper place in our lives.  As emotional beings, objects can bring us great joy and happiness.  It’s when they become a burden that it becomes unhealthy.  If it brings you joy, keep it.  If not, move it along.  It’s not like you can take it with you.  

Other Posts on Minimalism 

Minimal Mindset: Minimalism is a continual state of mind not a one time downsize.  

How to Live With Non-Minimalists:  A guide on how to keep your sanity in check if your family or roommates are pack rats. 

Minimalism and Freedom: Minimalism frees up your life so you can do the things that really matter to you. 


  1. Thank you so much for this brief, yet very precise piece! I saved your eight principles, so that I can turn to them as a mantra at the times when I hang on to clutter 😊

  2. Olga, right on! Thanks for letting me know that you found it helpful. I have to look at it myself from time to time. Best of luck with the decluttering!