If you want to learn to let it go, first address why you’re holding on. That sounds like relationship advice, doesn’t it? Well, in a lot of ways we build up relationships with our stuff.
We form emotional attachments to stuff. We associate our memories: our happy times, our sweet little toddlers in cute costumes playing in the waves on the waters edge.
We keep gifts: the wedding presents we didn’t use yet, the hand me downs from our parents (who don’t know what to do with their own clutter), the books we plan to get to, the mementoes from special moments.
We hold on to paper: the letters from friends, a card from our grandmother who passed, the “report cards” from preschool, and each and every piece of crayon-drawn artwork.
You see, it’s not about the stuff. I know it’s heartbreaking to think of letting the items go, but remember, it’s not about the items themselves, but the memories we associate with them.
We hang on to useful items: one day we plan to cut all those recipes out of those magazines and make up our own recipe book, one day we may need those used but handy envelopes, one day we may need one of those 100 blue holdall bags!
A minimum of the various things are fine – ten spare envelopes are useful; ten spare bags are handy and maybe 20 drawings of our childs best artwork is great - but when you have much more than this, it can be too much – then it has gotten out of hand.
Breakdown your clutter and stuff to the basic components and what are you left with? Paper, fabric, wood, metal, glass and plastic. Raw materials. The memories are in our minds and hearts, not within the plastic, fabric or paper.
We’re afraid we’re going to disappoint someone by not using their gift. We’re nostalgic and pained to let go of those sweet little children toddling around in their cute outfits. We’re scared to let go of the papers, because each creation holds a precious message of how much we were cared for, thought of and loved.
And we are fearful to let go of our one hundred envelopes or bags as it’s such a waste to just “throw it away” when you could use it – NO actually it’s a waste your keeping it and NEVER using it – rather pass it on to someone who only has a few and does NEED it! In our country there are many many needy people so NOTHING goes to waste. You are helping others when you part with something. Now doesn’t that make you feel good?
See? I told you. Decluttering your home gets emotional! Are you feeling it? That means you are addressing your issues – you are being brave – good for you!
But here’s the thing. For many of us, we’ve got way more stuff than we need or regularly use. In fact, the stuff we own prevents us from relaxing, finding what we need and living in peace as opposed to chaos. What we need gets buried by all the stuff we don’t, but still hold on to. We can’t fully enjoy what we own, because we’ve got too much to deal with. That’s where the saying comes from “Less is More”. When you have less – you will understand it.
If you want an inviting, clean, restful and beautiful house, you’re going to need to declutter. If you look at photos of homes in magazines with longing, wishing your home looked like those, you can get there! You simply need to clean out and organize. And then you need to do it regularly – not just every 5 years or so.
So get ready. I know you can do it!
If you simply cannot do it by yourself and need professional help please call me - I will work with you step by step at a pace that you are comfortable with.
Barbara Shepherd “One Step at a Time Professional Organising”. Barbara is a certified “hands on” Life Coach with New Insights, specialising in working with people with hoarding problems to address their emotional blocks. 072 437 2810
Find out more about One Step at a Time Professional Organising.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog post on the South Peninsula Moms website are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of South Peninsula Moms. Any content, product or service provided by our bloggers or authors are not specifically endorsed by South Peninsula Moms.