Let it go – Part 1 (a.k.a. why we keep stuff)

Just let it go etsy Honeyboo

This is a pretty BIG one on the Happy House Rules scale which is why we often start with it (i.e. let 1 thing go) and then return to it later (let a whole lot more go!) once we ave talked more about stuff and why we keep it, during our courses and consultations. There are many different reasons why we keep things so this post is all about trying to hep you figure out why you’re hanging on to something that seems to be weighing you down in some way.

* Keeping things “just in case” – you know, because you might need it, one day. This is often about a lack of trust in the future & your ability to provide for it. (I used to do this – a LOT. Time to trust it will all be OK.  Because, it will.)

* Identity – sometimes you might feel that your identity is tied up with your belongings. Examples of this could include old concert ticket stubs, old gifts from friends etc. Your things aren’t you – YOU are you.

* Unwanted gifts – As we discussed last week, we’ve all been given things we don’t like but feel obligated to keep. We are giving you permission to get rid of these.

* Status – ‘keeping up with the Jones’ for the reason of boosting self-esteem. But really, who are the Joneses anyway?

* Security – it’s reasonable to have a basic nesting instinct and want to create a home which serves your needs but there is a point at which more things do not make you feel more secure.

* Territorialism – this is all about the ego, which wants to possess and control things. So we buy stuff.

* Inherited “Clutteritis” – learned patterns from our parents/people that raised us. Think about if this might be the case for you … and remember, patterns can be changed.

* A belief that more is better – something the advertising moguls have brainwashed us into believing.

* “Scroogeness” – refusing to let go of things until you’ve gotten your money’s worth out of them…even if they cost you nothing to start with. I totally do this even though it makes no sense whatsoever.  Oops.

* Using clutter to suppress emotions – do you feel uncomfortable with too much empty space around you or too much free time? Ask yourself what you might be avoiding.  (This was also a big one that I had to deal with – I mean imagine if I didn’t have all this stuff to deal with, then what? Scary …)

* Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders – if you’ve reached a stage where you cannot throw anything away, ever. This is a serious level and while clearing your stuff out can help, therapy is also a necessity. This is where you need to find a professional, pronto.

* Spaces of argument – this term, coined by Nat, essentially is a physical representation of an argument you are/aren’t having with your partner or flat mate (or even yourself). Our suggestion – fix it. Do what you have to. Take responsibility for your side of this and just simply end the argument. Let it go and move on. If the “discussion” needs to happen, then address it & resolve it too.


before after spaces of argument

“See that pile of paper that’s been cleared? That was there for months and months (or even a year or two) and it just continued to grow. Hubby helped it grow by picking up my papers around the house and putting them on top of this pile. Anyway, he said, she said … I realised that this wasn’t clutter – this was an argument. A physical representation of the argument we weren’t having about my paper problem. So, my job was to end the argument.” ~ Tip

Take the time to process these and write down anything that came up for you. Did you connect with any? Have any others? We’d love to hear from you.

Poster by Honeyboo on etsy

* Source: Many of these reasons for keeping stuff originate from Karen Kingston. We have expanded on them from our work with our Apartment Diet clients.

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