Little did I know when I set out to write about emotions, this would trigger me to have a major breakup with my “stuff”. What I’ve found for me is that it’s difficult to really examine the heavier emotions such as fear, unworthiness and anger without feeling the need to run away and hide or throw everything I own away.
I don’t know that I’ll be able to continue the summer series since it’s made me need to take a break and evaluate how those emotions still have their “hooks” in me. I can see now they have manifested partly in my life as “stuff”.
I had started reading a book earlier this year called “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up“. Honestly, the author is hardcore and I didn’t feel like I could follow her program, but it did open my eyes and make me think about “things” differently.
As I was getting rid of my stuff, The paranoid part of me kicked in and I started to feel like I was a hoarder. Of course this caused me to do a little research about hoarding online.
Thankfully, I don’t qualify as a hoarder as all of my living spaces are functional and I can walk into rooms and closets without stepping over anything. But I still have an accumulation of things I don’t need and just haven’t dealt with because honestly, I’d rather be doing something else like reading, sleeping or staring off blankly into space. 😉
I thought I’d share some of the information I found about hoarding and getting rid of things by Susan Gardner. Below is her list of advice for clearing the clutter out of your life (I especially like the excuses part). I found it helpful. Hopefully you will too!
- Admit there’s a problem: Until supersavers acknowledge that they have a problem and want to live better, change is hopeless.
- Break the acquiring cycle: The hoarding pattern starts by getting too much stuff. Supersavers need to figure out what drives them to acquire. Many shop to fill an emotional void, Gardner said. Others have a rescuer mentality. They collect slightly damaged goods they plan to fix and sell. To crack the cycle, take a reality check. How many broken items have you actually fixed?
- Identify excuses: Hoarders cling for different reasons. Common themes include avoidance (I’ll deal with it later), planet saving (throwing it out is bad for the landfill), indecisiveness (I might need it), attachment (it’s part of me), and sentimentality (if I let go, I will lose a memory).
- Learn ways to let go: Once you find your sticking point, find some better logic. Here are some helpful mantras: Things aren’t useful if you can’t get to them. Fewer things add up to a richer life. Objects don’t contain memories. We have those regardless.
- Find a friend: When decluttering, work with a buddy whose judgment you trust and who is not overbearing.
- Dive in: Starting is the hardest part, but once you get on a roll, the process becomes easier.
- Ask key questions: As you sort every item, ask: Do I love it? Do I need it? Do I use it? Does it fit the direction I want my life to go? This will help you discard and will create new ways of assessing possessions going forward.
- Pick a number: Ask how many grocery bags, empty jars or dime-store flower vases one household needs. Lose the rest.
- Picture the result: Envision yourself in a clutter-free home, an environment you want to be in, doing what you love, cooking or entertaining, and keep focused on that.
- Learn new ways to organize: When compared to those who don’t hoard, hoarders tend to have trouble categorizing. Their decisions about where to put things often make no sense. Finding a logical home for things can help those who save too much not only achieve a new order but also maintain it.
OK then, time to go and breakup with more of my stuff.