I have 37 years of my life packed into 2 rooms. I cannot seem to catch up because my organizational skills are lacking. I wish I could have assistance of a professional organizer, but I am afraid of emotional attachment to some of my belongings. I have gotten rid of 90% of my things at yard sales, and just tossing it out. I am very overwhelmed and do not know what to do. Can anyone help me?
By Heather M.
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I don't think this is what you want to hear, but if you haven't used your items in several years you will never used them. Throw them away. They are cluttering up your life. I can see having an emotional attachment to people or pets, but these are just objects. Liberate yourself from the oppression of being tied to clutter.
I used to keep lots of things in the past but I moved around a lot and I never used these precious stored items. They had to be moved, stored, etc. and took up space. I allowed myself to keep some baby items of my kids when they were born, but the rest really had to go and I don't miss them.
I am 71 years old and used to be the same way. I went from a three bedroom house with a good basement and a garage, to a three bedroom townhouse that had a basement, but I still had to get rid of a lot of things. Then from there I went to a two bedroom apartment and had to drastically get rid of a lot. Now I am in a different two bedroom apartment and I have got things down to a couple large totes in one corner of my bedroom and two more in a corner of the hallway by the bedrooms.
Every now and then I still go through things and get rid of some stuff. I have made the rule that when one of us gets something new, be it clothing, or something for the household use, we have to get rid of a similar item. When it comes to downsizing a person can't let attachment to things get in the way, if they are really sincere about downsizing.
I found that plastic trash cans, the black ones, make great tables when you put something on top of them and cover it with a table cloth. I would put all your photos on an online storage system and get rid of the hard copies or store them somewhere out of sight.
One of the tricks I do to save things is to take photos of them and then I know I have a memory of them. If you feel this pressure to keep things is interfering in your life, get on an antidepressant and see if that helps, while still working on organizing things.
I live in a hundred year old house with no closets, and I have two kids and a Husband. There are no closets! When storing things, put them in airtight things, little at a time. This is so that if anything happens you will have them protected. Ask members of your family, if there are any available, and nearby, if they will store some of the things, and see how you feel about the items being out of the house.
I would never get rid of what brought me joy. I see you said you are afraid of being attached. It sounds like you don't like it. There are therapists that can help you find out what it is you really want to do and they are very helpful. I have a special needs adult child, and I can vouch for how wonderful and freeing therapy is.
Also there are ways to take things, like clothes, and turn them into other things, like pillows, or quilts if you are a crafty type person. Nutrition is one of my favorite subjects for pets and children and adults. If you were to do some research on nutrition, and how to eat right for energy you could not go wrong. We can all improve our diets.
Sometimes depression is just a matter of diet and choosing the wrong foods rather than the right ones. The best foods give you a feeling of wholesomeness and energy inside. Not hyper, but a feeling that your body is balanced. Now go fix you a nice cup of tea, and get a spiral notebook out and start keeping a journal of how you are going to spend the day and make sure you have some things in there for just relaxing!
I hope this helps!
Heather, I do agree with both other feedbacks. People have a tendency to feel attached to items but really, that is what they are. Just stuff. You will have to eventually go through your things. Keep only the things that hold a very special bond for you such as photos, which can't be replaced. Just the fact that you can't seem to get motivated, shows that these "things" just weigh you down. I too, have moved and downsized and it was one of the most liberating feelings I ever had.
This is a really neat website that will motivate you to start downsizing.
When struggling with letting go of things it could be more of a serious matter called OCD obsessive compulsive disorder meaning you like to save things and can't seem to let go of them becuase of some emotional attackments. There is a medicine for that and it's recommended to try counseling.
Many of us have had to part with stuff, the more you do it, the easier it gets. As far as having an attachment to your things, remember this: it's not the object that holds the memory of something. It's you that holds the memory, so toss away the clutter! To make it easy: call the Salvation Army and they will pick up your bags and boxes for free, saving you the trouble of having to haul them somewhere. Make piles for the trash to be taken out (get a neighborhood kid and pay him to help do that, or get a relative or someone from church, etc). Bag up your worthwhile donations or use boxes for the household goods and let Salvation Army put them to good use. I just did that and it feels great. Yes..it gets overwhelming but take a section at a time, take breaks, and don't lose heart.
Correction: You have 37 years of the past packed into two rooms. Life is present. You are not emotionally attached to any "thing" in those rooms, but you are attached to the memories those things bring to mind. When you remember, the memories are in the present...they are alive and a part of you. You cannot get rid of part of yourself and your experiences which those things remind you of are already a part of you. The things have served their purpose. Keep them if you like them. Get rid of them if they serve no purpose in your life today and bring them to a resale shop so someone else can get a memory out of buying them or giving them away. Or sell them on Craigslist or Ebay.
If you have lots of paper....scan, then shred the paper.
Clutter of the past can keep you living in the past..."the good old days". There are no "good old days"...they are gone. The only good day is today and then, only if you can live it today. Don't miss it. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Make up your mind quickly as this is depressing you. Set a time limit and go through a little at a time and when you feel overwhelmed the stop go outside away from it and then go at it again. Ask a friend to help and talk it over with them. It is not easy doing away with your life. You actually feel like you mean nothing and have accomplished nothing which is wrong. I started over 21 years ago with a dog, wood heater,cat,horse and a horse trailer, cab over camper I had lived in these for 3 years and believe me you will downsize for that. Guess what, the stuff you get rid of you really won't miss and you can replace it with new memories. I gave my pictures and the kids keepsakes to them and kept l of each or only very special ones. (One book.)
I started from scratch with nothing 6 times in my life and each time I learned a new lesson on what I needed and didn't need. You will too if you'll allow yourself the lesson. You are not judged by God for what you own but by what you do with what you have. If you are in 2 rooms keep only what makes those 2 rooms livable. The next move could be l room. We truly never know. Good luck and look at it as a chance to try new things.
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