The Emotional Side of Clutter

by Tina ~ February 11th, 2015.

emotional clutterIn a previous blog post, I said that organizing memorabilia is different than other kinds of organizing because your focus isn’t so much on the practical value of the items, but on what they mean to you.

However, emotional attachment isn’t limited to old photos and other keepsakes. For many people, the thought of getting rid of any of their belongings is stressful.

Here are some of the most common obstacles to clutter-clearing that my clients report.

“It’s worth a lot of money.”

Have you bought something only to come home and realize it was the wrong size or colour, or that you didn’t really like it after all? Maybe it was on final sale and can’t go back, or you just didn’t get around to taking it back within the time allowed. Every time you see that item, you’re reminded of the money you wasted, but keeping it isn’t going to bring back your money; it’s just going to make you feel worse.

“I might need it one day.”

Are you afraid to get rid of things in case you need them again in the future and can’t afford to replace them? If your parents grew up during the Depression, they may have instilled this mindset in you, even if you’ve never been short on funds yourself. Although it may be practical to a certain extent, accumulating large quantities of items that can be acquired at a dollar store is not, especially if they’re taking up valuable space in your home.

“I’m going to wear it when I lose weight.”

You might, but there’s a good chance it won’t even be in style by then. Instead of motivating you to stick to your diet or fitness program, it probably just makes you feel bad. You’re better off treating yourself to a new outfit as a reward once you reach your weight loss goal.

“I’m going to use it someday.”

This is especially common when it comes to hobbies and other pastimes. Whether it’s exercise equipment, a musical instrument, craft supplies, or something else altogether, these items often represent activities that you no longer engage in, and maybe never did. Be honest with yourself. Do these objects really have a place in your life?

“I don’t like it, but it was a gift.”

People give you presents because they want you to be happy. If keeping that item is contributing to your clutter and making you unhappy, do you really think that’s what your loved one would want?

“It reminds me of a special time/place/person.”

It’s wonderful to keep things that bring back happy memories, especially if they’re well-organized so you can really enjoy them. But keeping everything takes up too much space and doesn’t set the extra special ones apart from all the rest.

Sometimes it’s better not to be reminded of certain times in our lives. Do you really want to surround yourself with memories of your ex, for example?

If you can relate to any of these obstacles, understanding why you are attached to certain objects is the first step to letting go.

Start with something small and see how it feels. You may be surprised at how liberating it can be!

Categories: clutter.
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