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How do you emotionally detach yourself to get rid of stuff?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
We live in an itsy bitsy 900 sq ft apartment for 5 people (including 3 little people ages 7 yrs and younger). I see DS1 turning into me (yes, a hoarder and a messy...) but we don't have space!!!

So I am tackling crap that I have lying around that never gets used. Usually bags of a miscellany of paper things that have been accumulating for the last 18 months. Can you believe I still have my high school agendas and movie stubs and show ticket stubs from things I saw over 15 years ago?

And clothes! It's the emotional attachment to things that bog me down and suck all the momentum out of my good intentions to declutter, never mind organize...

Help me ladies! I need a firm kick in the butt to let go of all these things so we have more room to live! Before I drown in all this clutter... or worse, leave everything for my grandkids to dispose after I die hahaha...
post #2 of 47
I've just been reading the Apartment Therapy 8 week cure, and the author suggests an outbox. The outbox is something I've been doing for a while, I just never knew that that was what it was called! The outbox can be an area of your home, a basket, a box, any space that you can put the clutter you think you want to remove from a living space and you just leave it there for a while.

After a while you look at the space, and see if you want to take the stuff back out of the outbox, donate it or sell it or whatever. Sometimes just throwing it away is too severe and sudden to really reconcile the feelings you have about the clutter. The hope is that you'll feel better with a more uncluttered space, and that you'll get rid of the contents of your outbox eventually. Does that make sense?

If I've explained it wrong, anyone else please chime in a correct me!
post #3 of 47
Watch an episode of Hoarders on A&E and you'll want to get rid of everything.

I'm half joking and half serious. Anytime I watch that show I HAVE to go clean something afterwards. :
post #4 of 47
I try and remind myself that my memories are inside me, not my things.
post #5 of 47
Papers are kind of easy. If you have a scanner, scan them and save them on your computer then get rid of the paper. I love the idea of the "outbox", too.
post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
Papers are kind of easy. If you have a scanner, scan them and save them on your computer then get rid of the paper. I love the idea of the "outbox", too.
Holy moly... I do NOT know why this never occured to me. I bet I could do this for all of the millions of statements I'm holding on to. I keep them because I have on occasion needed to reference something, but I've never needed the original, just the balance number.

Thank you for pointing this out. I think you just saved me a lot of space.
post #7 of 47
I allow myself to ponder over things before they go away. I freecycle anything that may get a second appreciative life (of course, sometimes I feel like I'm just enabling another hoarder - is that good, really?). I do something like an outbox when I'm sorting: if I'm not able to part with it immediately, it goes into a box or part of my closet for the "next" round of purging. If you can get rid of 1/3 of what you need to at a time, you will be making progress.

Allow yourself the time it takes to say goodbye. Realize that stuff is just stuff.

--janis
Purging My Life One Box At A Time!
post #8 of 47
One funny thing I've noticed with stuff is that I often forget I even had things until I stumble upon the box or bag of it.

If it had been stolen right out from under me I'd never ever wonder where it went. I'd most likely never notice.

So if you stumble upon something like that you should spend some time thinking about what would happen if....you just pitched the whole thing. You can't honestly say you'd be devastated, because you'd totally forgotten about the whole entire thing. You can't really honestly say you need any of it- because you haven't seen it in years.

I guess that helps me realize that stuff is stuff. It doesn't make you who you are, it doesn't bring back the dead and it can't help you capture some moment in time. The past is the past. Clinging onto tons of stuff for emotional reasons is draining.

Clothes esp, I had kept the shirt I had when I met my husband for like 12 years before I got rid of it, now every great once in a while I wish I had it back because I want to see how small I was lol. Other than that it doesn't bother me.

I'm very sentimental and could very easily be a hoarder. Up until a few years ago I kept things like receipts if something neat happened the day I'd bought the item. Something about seeing the date stamped on it, and what I bought would bring back the day. Even bad days. I was bad.

Now I realize after having so much crap and junk handed down to me when my grandma passed that there's no point in any of it, even relatively nice stuff and stuff worth money. It's just stuff.

You can't take it with you when you die, and the odds are no one else is going to want it when you do die. Save yourself the energy of lugging it around and caring for it by releasing it.
post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madalyn View Post
Watch an episode of Hoarders on A&E and you'll want to get rid of everything.

I'm half joking and half serious. Anytime I watch that show I HAVE to go clean something afterwards. :
My hubby and I just watched that the other night and it was completely eye opening. We are not hoarders by any means but it made us want to get up and clean the house top to bottom at 1 am!!
post #10 of 47
I just watched Hoarders for the first time, and OMG, it does work! I started thinking about just how many "things" of my grandmother's I really need to save in order to preserve the memories...
post #11 of 47
I just keep telling myself "I do not need stuff to validate my life."
post #12 of 47
I read Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. I like this book because it addresses the energetic aspects of clutter and getting it cleared out. In it she talks about how you have different energetic states which draw things to you and as time goes by your energetic states change and so the items no longer resonate with you. I find this very helpful in terms of breaking emotional attachments because I don't have to convince myself it's a useless or bad or old item, I just have to realize I've changed energetically and I need to make room for things which work for me now. It also helps me with the "what was I thinking?" aspect.

Not so much related to emotional attachments, but maybe you'll find this helpful: she also talks about how keeping things you no longer need ("they might be needed/useful/etc") is really about a lack of faith in your future. It's based in fear that you won't have the object when you want it or need it, and that decisions made from a place of fear are usually not good ones.

:
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by triscuitsmom View Post
Holy moly... I do NOT know why this never occured to me. I bet I could do this for all of the millions of statements I'm holding on to. I keep them because I have on occasion needed to reference something, but I've never needed the original, just the balance number.

Thank you for pointing this out. I think you just saved me a lot of space.
Cool!
post #14 of 47
Watch a "Clean House" episode. That is always motivating.

In truth, there is no easy way. You just have to act, take that first step. It becomes easier and easier to get rid of things as time goes on.

As yourself what value those papers you're keeping are adding to your life. What value? How much stress do they add? How much do they take away from your space, your life? Why do you feel the need to hang onto them?

And then, the bottom line statement I always tell myself "Sailor, when you're dead, and your kids are picking up your belongings, do you really want them sorting through 98 years of your life?" (I'm being optimistic about my life span, lol.)

Keep those things that you use, and those that genuinely add value/joy to your life - the rest give away.
post #15 of 47
This is how I detach:

* I donate so someone else gets the rush of finding an amazing bargain.

* I don't like to hold onto something that I can share with someone else, who can actually USE the item, versus it sitting in the back of my closet. (Get that stuff out into the rotation!)

* It's good karma to donate it and help someone else in need.

* It leaves me free to concentrate on what's important in my life. I only want to have what I truly love and use frequently.

* I am lighter. I spend less time cleaning and putting things away when I have less.

* Extra space, dust-free space...it makes me breathe easier and feel better, like I don't have a pile of things weighing me down.

* I'd rather own a few good quality, well-loved items than a whole ton of junk.

* I can't possibly look at it all, use it all, or wear it all anyway. My psyche can only handle so much stuff and my life is busy enough.

* If I had 30 minutes to pack everything most important to me, would I take this item? (DH, DD, digital photos and files on laptop, shoebox of home movie tapes, a few pieces of sentimental jewelry, my baby book, DD's baby book, a few pieces of my grandmother's vintage carnival glass. I think that's it. No wedding dress. No books or clothes. No files. When I make an actual list, it surprises me.)

* If you are questioning how to detach, quite possibly on some level you already have, and you are looking for someone else to tell you it's okay. IT'S OKAY. You know you'll feel better once you let it go.
post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by avent View Post
I read Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. I like this book because it addresses the energetic aspects of clutter and getting it cleared out. In it she talks about how you have different energetic states which draw things to you and as time goes by your energetic states change and so the items no longer resonate with you. I find this very helpful in terms of breaking emotional attachments because I don't have to convince myself it's a useless or bad or old item, I just have to realize I've changed energetically and I need to make room for things which work for me now. It also helps me with the "what was I thinking?" aspect.

Not so much related to emotional attachments, but maybe you'll find this helpful: she also talks about how keeping things you no longer need ("they might be needed/useful/etc") is really about a lack of faith in your future. It's based in fear that you won't have the object when you want it or need it, and that decisions made from a place of fear are usually not good ones.

:
I also got a lot out of that book. It really helped me detach from things.
post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beauchamp View Post
This is how I detach:

* I donate so someone else gets the rush of finding an amazing bargain.

* I don't like to hold onto something that I can share with someone else, who can actually USE the item, versus it sitting in the back of my closet. (Get that stuff out into the rotation!)

* It's good karma to donate it and help someone else in need.

* It leaves me free to concentrate on what's important in my life. I only want to have what I truly love and use frequently.

* I am lighter. I spend less time cleaning and putting things away when I have less.

* Extra space, dust-free space...it makes me breathe easier and feel better,
like I don't have a pile of things weighing me down.

* I'd rather own a few good quality, well-loved items than a whole ton of junk.

* I can't possibly look at it all, use it all, or wear it all anyway. My psyche can only handle so much stuff and my life is busy enough.

* If I had 30 minutes to pack everything most important to me, would I take this item? (DH, DD, digital photos and files on laptop, shoebox of home movie tapes, a few pieces of sentimental jewelry, my baby book, DD's baby
book, a few pieces of my grandmother's vintage carnival glass. I think that's it. No wedding dress. No books or clothes. No files. When I make an actual list, it surprises me.)


* If you are questioning how to detach, quite possibly on some level you already have, and you are looking for someone else to tell you it's okay. IT'S OKAY. You know you'll feel better once you let it go.
Freaking Awesome. What a fantastic, true post! This is the kind of good stuff that I feel inside but am unable to express articulately. When I try to explain deep feelings I have it comes out like mumble-y gibberish. :-p Thanks for such a great read! :^D
post #18 of 47
I totally recommend the Clutter Busting blog and book . The author explains how to declutter in a way that I've never read about before. He encourages people to really become aware of their energy when they are in contact with their stuff. His stories are very compelling and give me a lot of decluttering motivation.
post #19 of 47
Clothes: Is there room in your budget for a 100$ shopping spree? If so, I suggest bargaining with yourself. Get rid of 2/3rds of your clothes and you can go buy a couple new (nicely made, last forever, classic) pieces of clothing.
post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by triscuitsmom View Post
but I've never needed the original, just the balance number.
Spreadsheet.

Account Name.....Account Number.....Balance.....Contact number
Bank of Smithtown..55443553353.....$14214.93..534-235-2593
Fred Jones...........234938234.....etc

When you get the next statement, update the balance. Easy to start tracking other information if you decide to.

Also, see if your accounts have online copies of your statements.

Scanning is awesome for things where you need the whole document, mind you.
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