How to Avoid Getting Attached to Material Belongings

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Can you use some help on how to avoid getting attached to material belongings? Have you ever looked into the minimalist approach at living with less? If so, then you know that decluttering your home is one of the biggest challenges on the list. It’s easy for things to take up our lives without us even realizing it.

This goes for parting with items that you might have created a detrimental attachment with. Learning how to avoid getting attached to belongings is hard, but you can do it!

We’re not saying that every keepsake that you own has to find its way out to the curb. Just don’t allow that object to be a constant reminder of a better life you once lived or hoped for. 

How to Avoid Getting Attached to Material Belongings

Are you interested in the path to becoming a better version of yourself? Here are a few tips that can help you avoid becoming attached to material belongings. These tips can also help you find ways of letting them go if they already have a foothold on you.  

Ask Yourself “Why Am I Attached” To Material Belongings?

Before you can find how to avoid becoming attached to material things, you have to find out what causes these attachments in the first place. This will help you get to the root of any attachment you might have and prevent any future attachments to things from becoming a stranglehold on your life. Let’s dig a little deeper to see how we can form an unhealthy bond with an object.  

Know It Holds a Cherished Memory 

Do you have any memorabilia, souvenirs, or keep-sakes that you hold onto because it reminds you of a distant fond memory? While there’s nothing wrong with having something to remember someone or some event by, if that prize becomes an idol, you could be creating a big problem. 

Another danger of a momento that holds a cherished memory is that you find yourself living in the past, believing the best is behind you. This may give you a poor outlook on life and could develop a poor attitude. 

Entertaining the Thought that You Might Need It Again

A big reason why people have a hard time letting go of stuff is that they think they might possibly need to use it again down the road. Stop and consider that maybe you could borrow or rent this item if needed again, instead of it collecting dust. 

That Object is Connected to Your Self-Worth

Did you win a lot of sports trophies when you were younger? You find yourself holding on to them to remember your successes and triumphs from long ago. There’s nothing wrong with having them, but if you’re not careful, you might allow your self-worth to get intertwined with that trophy.  

Physical objects can become an anchor that holds us back in the past, instead of allowing us to step into the future. 

Emotional Attachment that Brings Prestige

Have you ever owned a nice big truck or a snazzy sports car? You might deep down believe that you can’t get the right girl or guy without it. You might even have a feeling of success or a bigger ego with it. This is extremely dangerous to continue heading down this kind of path. 

Avoid So Much Physical Contact

Did you ever watch or read the books series involving “The Lord of the Rings”? A certain character named Gollum became so emotionally attached to a ring that it consumed his mind and became all he cared about. All of this happened because of the amount of physical touch he had with that ring.

This might seem ridiculous, but it’s been proven to be true. The same can happen for you and me if we cherish something through physical contact every day. Be careful how much you pick up an object because that shows where your heart is.  

Have Only the Essentials 

Another great way to steer clear of becoming attached to material belongings is by having only the essentials. A minimalist that can do this will find their passion in life by investing in others, rather than investing themselves with things to make them happy. 

Declutter from Time to Time 

Decluttering your home from time to time is another great way of keeping you from growing attached to stuff. If you find this difficult to do, invite a friend over to help you in the process.

They can bring laughter, even during the hard task of letting go. Trying to do so on your own might have you getting lost down memory lane and never getting out. Declutter Stuff

Remind Yourself that Things are Temporary 

When we die, there’s nothing that is coming with us. Everything that we own right now is temporary, so we shouldn’t try and hold on to everything like it is. Remind yourself of this when you’re tempted to hold on items, particularly ones you haven’t used for some time. 

Try to Sell Things Before It’s Too Late

Throwing a garage sale each year can help you weed things out easier. If someone offers you a slightly less amount for it, you have to battle through that attachment and allow it to leave your driveway.  

Learn to Transform those Belongings 

Do you have an old wedding dress that was your mother’s or small clothing that you wore as a baby tucked away? I don’t believe that you will be wearing them anytime soon, so what is their purpose?

How about transforming them into a beautiful quilt that can serve you well and you can share their stories with your family? 

Choose Relationships Over Things

When it comes down to it, you have to decide which is more important. Is your life filled with more purpose when you are holding on to relationships or when you’re holding onto things? You can’t fully be invested into one while holding tightly onto the other.

Become Content with Memories Over Things 

The last thing you need to learn is how to be content with the memory and not the object. Even if you were to let the item go, that memory will never go away. You just don’t need to be reminded of that memory on a daily basis. 

Final Word

These are a few ways that you can create an unhealthy bond with getting attached to material belongings and ways that you can prevent the tendency to keep them beyond their usefulness. Have you ever created an attachment with an object and struggled to part with it? If so, tell us about it.

If you’ve found other ways to avoid becoming attached to possessions, what have you discovered? Thanks again for prepping, it’s important we be prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda

22 thoughts on “How to Avoid Getting Attached to Material Belongings

  • September 3, 2019 at 8:51 am
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    Well done. As I sit here in Florida waiting on hurricane Dorian. I know being a minimalist is only the right way to be. Hurricanes can destroy possessions but know take away memories.
    Thank you.

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    • September 3, 2019 at 9:16 am
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      Hi Patricia, I’ve been reading a lot about living with less. It’s a mindset I’ve been working on. I will be praying for you and all those close to Hurricane Dorian. Memories are everything, stay safe! Linda

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  • September 3, 2019 at 4:29 pm
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    This was a very interesting article and talked about good reasons to ‘hang on’ to items.
    My mother recently passed away at 93. She was about 6 or 7 when the depression of the 30’s hit, then lived through WWII with the rationing. Therefore, she never, ever threw anything away, and I do mean anything. She had a 1600 sq.ft. home with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, living room & dining room combined, a kitchen & family room combined and laundry room. She was a clean hoarder though, no pets, no bugs, no rotten garbage. Two bedrooms were so full of boxes you could not walk into, as was the LR/DR. They were piled over 5 ft. in the back and got gradually lower in the front. Her bedroom & bath were also full of boxes & clothes. She also had a storage shed on the property along with an off-site storage unit. It was up to my daughter & me to go through it all for an estate sale. To say the least it was a monumental task. As we went through things, my daughter, grandson & I would box things up for us to keep, some things useful & some for the memories. We all three brought home way, way too much.
    A friend of mine told me that the “Statute of Limitations” on guilt items kept runs out at about 3 to 5 years. My daughter & I laughed at that until we teared up.
    I do have a suggestion on what to do about those memory items. Take a picture of those things & put them in a Memory Album & you can write a description under it.

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    • September 3, 2019 at 4:33 pm
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      Hi Brenda, I like that idea of taking a picture of items and making a memory album. I’m going to be 70 and I do not want my daughters to have a monumental task after I die going through stuff. I’m not planning on dying anytime soon but I want to declutter and declutter again. It never ends. Your comment may help others realize it’s a big job for those left behind. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Linda

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      • September 3, 2019 at 7:53 pm
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        Linda, great article! De-cluttering is a trend it seems. Makes a lot of sense too for especially our generation. I know I’ve accumulated a lot over the years. I keep thinking maybe The Borrowers (lol, from the book series) are bringing back things because I don’t know where or how I got all this. This summer I’ve donated 3 boxes of Xmas decor, many bedding sets, my entire collection of cassettes (hundreds), over 30 gardening/cook books plus kitchen gadgets. My sons would never use any of these. I also sold about 150 canning jars ($5/doz) so I got some pocket money, lol. It’s fun how much space this has opened up in my home and shed (where jars were nicely stored in big containers). Lol, I have a regular little thrift store pile on a couch we never use, in my living room we only walk thru…my 20 yr old son has been putting clothes he doesn’t want on it too! Do I keep memorabilia? Yes, but I’ve learned to keep only the things for which my kids share a memory, or has historical value. I even donated my collection of Chicken decor. Hey, I no longer keep fancy feathered friends. Kept a couple of pieces because having chickens was a big part of my 2 youngest guys lives. I’ve become quite Ruthless in my de-cluttering efforts, haha.

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        • September 4, 2019 at 8:21 am
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          Oh my gosh, Wendy, I got rid of my RED chicken that was 24 inches tall!! LOL! Life does go on. Your comment is awesome! We have to let go of stuff. Yesterday, my husband was willing to go through his office. Oh my gosh, two keyboards that do not work, what was he saving them for, I ask?? LOL! Remember the VHS Disney shows that we NOW realize are too grainy to watch? We donated them years ago. Oh, my gosh, your comment was a joy to read today! I need to look for that series The Borrowers!! Thanks for brightening my day! Linda

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          • September 4, 2019 at 11:33 am
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            Linda, you would get a kick out of The Borrowers books: tiny people who live between our walls, floors,etc: they ‘borrow’ items they need, much later return them. Lol, like I put down a pair of scissors, the next morning, Gone! Weeks or months later, scissors back in the same spot…yep, the borrowers had them. I really chuckled when you mentioned vhs tapes. My oldest son had his DVD recorder break but I had an old vhs recorder, so he used this for the past year to make recordings of his favorite TV series. My dad had given him over 200 vhs tapes that he simply recorded over. He is now busy transferring these onto his new DVD thing. Lol, no way will he part with that old vhs player/recorder or the tapes!

          • September 4, 2019 at 12:55 pm
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            Hi Wendy, oh the VHS machine, I love it! Linda

        • September 4, 2019 at 1:15 pm
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          Leanne, gosh, how fun and smart of you to buy those books! Homeschooling is great but what a challenge. My nephew and his wife are doing this with their 2 sons, now 11 and 13. It is awesome how the parents of homeschooling organize outings/sports etc with each other for socialization. My great nephews are eons ahead of same age public school kids in all subjects. I stand in awe of these parents: I had difficulty helping my grandson do a semester of online high school. Everyone has a different reason for home or online schooling but at least it’s an option these days. Lol, I went to a true country school when I was young: 26 students total between first and eighth grades. When my family moved closer to town, we went to town school: we were at least 2 grade levels higher than our classmates. Within a year of us moving, the country school closed, so our former friends all came in also. They too were all far more advanced. So, we’d sit, twiddle our thumbs…kudos for your homeschooled grandkids…they will probably be able to graduate about age 16, take on the world!

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          • September 4, 2019 at 4:24 pm
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            Hi Wendy and Leanne, I agree on with you about online schooling and homeschooling making kids more advanced. I still wonder why it takes 13 years to teach kids to read and write, math, etc. My grandson left his junior year to do online school and said the reason he did was that he felt like only 3 hours a day were productive in his classes at his conventional high school. This may not be true other places but it was for him. He said his teachers were on their phones playing games and their ipads most of the time. He said he learned more in two hours a day than he did going 7 hours a day to his high school. It sure has changed my vision for teaching kids. Linda

    • September 3, 2019 at 7:20 pm
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      Brenda, our family still had a lot from my dad even tho he and Mom had had a big sale, moved to a smaller place. Then after mom passed, dad moved to an apt with a garage, then to 2 different assisted living places before he too passed, age 95. What I didn’t know was that he had a storage rental plus kept having my sis store things in her basement. She’s still going thru those. But, with each move, us kids would be given things, stuff sent to thrift, yet dad still kept stuff that literally he would never use. But if your mom was still in her home, no way would she have parted with her extras. Same generation as my folks. Sadly, my oldest sister has managed to make a hoard in her house, oh, and in the double garage, 2 outdoor sheds, a rental storage place…last summer, she managed to clear their ice fishing house of stuff and get it hauled away. Unfortunately I think behind her boxes is probably mold, both in her main floor and especially basement. I’ve gone over to help but she doesn’t want to part with things: her reason is that she wouldn’t want to buy another if she needs one and can’t find it. Example: in helping with one shed, I found 12 coolers. I asked if we could keep just 3, of different sizes. Donate the others. Nope. Now she’s thinking of having a garage sale, which I will go and help with, but by gosh, she’d better be putting a lot of for sale. Cuz, her house is like your mom’s: boxes stacked in every room! I’ve determined to not hang onto things I don’t use in the here and now, even tho I used to…

      Reply
      • September 4, 2019 at 8:23 am
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        Wendy, I love this comment!! To read it is to love it. This is why we are decluttering big time! I love this, Linda

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    • September 3, 2019 at 8:34 pm
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      I have young grandkids who love to give me drawings! I display them on my fridge for 1 month, then I take photos of them and put those on a thumb drive – I have one for each of my grands. When they ask me about those drawings, I tell them what I have done.

      Also, my daughter and son-in-law are minimalists but I do want to leave some things for my grandkids. So, I purchased some boxes that have a place to put a label (they are about 4 inches high, 12 inches long and 9 inches wide. I now have 4 grands and have 4 boxes. I also have a box for my daughter but I will eventually have her go through it and decide if there is anything she wants and if not, she can plan before I leave this world!!

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      • September 4, 2019 at 11:48 am
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        Leanne, what a great idea! Similar to another comment where she takes a photo of memorabilia, writes a description. I’ve had a shelf with 2 boxes for each my youngest son (age 20) and grandson (age 18) with their school papers, artwork, from their school years. Occasionally work on putting these into scrapbooks but whew, lots of time. I could just scan the papers, make a file for each kid! And yes, put on a thumb drive. With how their generation keeps things, this makes great sense. Thank you so much for this idea! I do gotta say, I still like holding something…I have my Dick and Jane workbooks from first and second grade. Lol, even my kids get a kick out of them.

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        • September 4, 2019 at 11:54 am
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          Wendy ~
          When my daughter and son-in-law started their homeschool journey with my grandkids (8, 6 1/2, 5 and now a 9 month old) I purchased the Dick and Jane books! That is how the older kiddos learned to read.

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    • September 6, 2019 at 12:48 pm
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      When my mother passed away, she had grown up during the depression and saved way too much. We had a garage sale. It was fun, things went to people who could use them.

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      • September 6, 2019 at 2:27 pm
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        Hi Janet, that’s why I’m decluttering big time. I do not want my girls to have to put together a garage sale after I die. It’s just me, I would like to get rid of stuff now. Or at least as much as I can. It never ends, the decluttering! LOL! Linda

        Reply
  • September 21, 2019 at 11:43 am
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    We moved to NE Utah about 3 1/2 years ago and still have a ton of stuff in the garage. Never got around to getting rid of a lot of it. However, we have made a commitment to start decluttering this week.

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    • September 21, 2019 at 12:38 pm
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      Hi Karl, it’s crazy how the decluttering never ends. I just took three items to a thrift store. I just don’t want to hang on to this stuff. The more stuff we have, the more stuff we have to take care of. I’m so done with stuff we never use. Good luck my friend, it will be so worth it. Linda

      Reply

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