This is how we did it.
Pull everything out.
Assess each item.
Ask if the item under consideration brings us joy.
If it doesn’t, it gets passed on, thrown away, or taken to one of several agencies that take donations so that those with limited resources can have access to useful items. It became an exercise in what to keep rather than what to toss, and by using joy as the barometer, we kept less, tossed more, and made room for more joy..
For those things still under debate, ask why we are keeping it, and if we didn’t what might it make space for, which might simply be actual space that doesn’t get filled by anything. What a concept.
One of the items I’ve kept for years is a cardboard box that held our Christmas stockings when I was growing up. Somehow I ended up with it, and kept the Christmas stockings for my family in it, until I realized that out in the country a cardboard box is the perfect place for a mouse to build a nest. So, the stockings went into a tupperware bin, but I still held onto the cardboard box that held nothing but memories. It has my mom’s handwriting on it, and somehow every year it gave me joy to look at that empty cardboard box. Today I realized that while it had once brought me joy, now it is just the memory of that joy, and I was ready to let it go.
More room for joy.