As the time when we can throw our windows open and embrace fresh air nears, so does the overwhelming urge to get rid of the clutter we've amassed in our homes all these years.
Each year, the beginning of spring and nicer weather marks a time for people to clean out their houses, revamp their style and hold garage sales to get rid of all the extra junk they've been keeping. Except, of course, for that extra junk we can't bear to part with.
"The amount of stuff you have is a function of time and the space you have," says professional organizer Clare Kumar, who, thanks to her job, has learned quite a bit about the psychology of discarding loved items. "If you have tons of space, you aren't under pressure now. But you want to think ahead and prepare for a time when you want to downsize, and have a strategy to do so."
The things that people keep vary immensely by personality — "I've seen lint brushes in every drawer, or 30 sets of sheets," notes Kumar — but there are definite commonalities, and most of them relate to emotions. She lists five reasons why people can't let go: sentimental value, potential value, current value, guilt value and identity value.
It's easy to picture what each would entail (admit it, you can envision one for each category in your house right now), but Kumar does have some suggestions as to how to make parting with these items a bit more painless.
Check out this list of the 13 hardest things to throw away — and why you should it anyway: