Declutter the Guilt
Kate is a regular guest poster here at Vintage Cash Cowriosities. She’s a professional organiser and declutterer, and blogs over at A Tidy Mind what she doesn’t know about decluttering isn’t worth knowing.
Today Kate is talking to us about the guilt associated with decluttering and gives some sound advice on what to do with the things you feel guilty letting go of.
Over to Kate for one of the best posts you’ll read this year…
As a professional declutterer, I often see people in a state of distress over their belongings. A home can become overwhelming for lots of different reasons – downsizing, inheriting things from family, a new baby, becoming a blended family and over consuming to name a few. Once overwhelm kicks in, it’s easy to become paralysed and stressed about the whole situation.
Let me be clear: I love ‘stuff’. My possessions are very important to me – not as important as the people I love or meaningful experiences – but important all the same. But I’m mindful of the fact that possessions exist to enhance life, either because they’re useful – like a bread knife, or because they’re associated with a positive feeling – like a special letter from a loved one.
I feel strongly that each and every possession should add value to life in some way. Even something as mundane as an ice scraper can do that – life would be a little bit more challenging without it.
So, taking the above into consideration, I dislike it when possessions are associated with negative feelings (or even indifferent feelings) Guilt, obligation and a fear of causing offence and upset are common reasons why people hold on to possessions which add little or no value to their lives.
I sometimes see people emotionally blackmailing themselves into keeping clutter
It has to stop.
Comments I hear regularly from clients include:
“I can’t get rid of that – X gave it to me”
“I can’t let that go, it was only recently gifted”
“I need to keep that, Y might ask after it”
“Before I donate that, I should ask Z if they want it back”
Let’s get some perspective. It’s just stuff. It isn’t a person. It doesn’t have feelings. If something isn’t adding value to your life, you can and should let it go. And if you can sell or donate it then that’s a bonus.
But what if you feel you really would offend someone by letting a possession go?
The solution still isn’t keeping the stuff to save feelings. You pay a price for everything you have in your home – you need to store and maintain it and you shouldn’t have to keep anything out of guilt of obligation. Reassure yourself and others that you can still honour the sentiment behind something despite letting it go.
Above all, focus on nurturing the current relationships in your life through shared experiences. These are what will deepen connections and create memories. The ‘stuff’, really is just stuff.
Kate is a professional organiser and declutter at A Tidy Mind. Visit her site today to get help from Kate with your clutter.
Did you miss Kate’s last guest post? Find it here:
Now you’re all clued up on the emotive elements of decluttering, get some practical advice from Kate’s blog here: