How do you emotionally detach yourself to get rid of stuff? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 47 Old 09-23-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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I adopted this mentality: All of this crap that I keep around is preventing me from doing the things I love, keeping me from making new memories.

It worked for me. I realized how much time I spent trying to organize and clean up all the time, making me say, "just let me get organized, then I can do x, y, and z," when what I really needed to do was toss it all. I was putting my life on hold to keep up with stuff that I didn't need.

Yes, some of it has memories, but when I looked at it I felt as though it was making a huge burden on me to keep it, hence the statement above. And I agree with PP, memories are inside you and not in things.

I came from a home that was pretty much in squalor. I didn't realize that I was brought up that way for a while but because of it I have a huge aversion to clutter, and it really freaks me out when things build up. Trust me, I am no neat freak by any means, and suck at keeping up with housework, but eliminating all of the crap we had has really made my life easier.
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#32 of 47 Old 09-24-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Ksenia;14427468]Some people actually recommend randomly boxing stuff up to make it easier to declutter. The cool thing is that you can take a box out of the "junk room" and work on it in a peaceful area of the house. Then you are not stressed by the clutter in the rest of the room bearing down on you.


If I had been the one to do this, I wouldn't have such a big problem with it...

But I went away on vacation to visit some old friends with my girls so all our kiddos could play and we could catch up and when I came home IT WAS ALL BOXED UP...no rhyme or reason to it.....papers with bracelets with clothes with toys. He'd completly done the downstairs to suit himself.


If I had randomly boxed up stuff, it would've been papers in a box, toys in a box, clothes in a box.

But the room is now filled with boxes HE packed while we were away for a weekend and I look at it now and it's overwhelming.......bc I know it's just a mix of things in each box and I have to sort through it and make more piles than I really needed too. I had gotten to the mindframe of ok, I can put this top over here and donate it and put this one to keep but now it's all jumbled up again.

I had gotten to a point where I could actually go and sit in the middle of the room and go through things or at least be able to take a box out and now there isn't anywhere to move in there.

His things are perfectly organized......the entire 2 car garage has new shelving he put up for his hobby things.....there is room for a few of the girls outdoor toys they still play with (rocking dino, etc...) but they have to live in that room bc they clutter up the garage.

Like I said, alot of the problem is the way he goes about doing things to suit himself without thinking he's no longer a bachelor....if it's not HIS, he won't pick it up. I can't understand my things but our children's things??? Toys are out at the end of the night that the 2yo hasn't helped put away (which she loves to do) and he'll step OVER them and complain they aren't put up. Um, how about bending down and putting it on the shelf it goes on next to it instead of stepping over it and moaning about the clutter it's causing (it can be 2 dolls on the floor and he'll walk over it)

I also need someone to sit and talk with me while I go through things so I don't get waylayed but can't find anyone to do so. It's too hard to do when the kids (2 of em) are home bc they sneak stuff away or are underfoot but he won't take them to the park bc he has other things to do...

It's going to be a long process but I've finally come to the place where it needs to go....I just need some hand holding. I need the cluter buster author to come help.....Not that Peter Walsh guy, I don't wanna cry.
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#33 of 47 Old 09-25-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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I know this might sound radical of a thought maybe. I do pretty much everything most of the other OP's suggested. In particular picture taking (especially with the kids) is something that I really enjoy. There were a few larger plush that we got rid of a while back. We took all these pictures with the kids climbing on them, hugging them, etc. That stuff works.

Sometimes though the picture thing does NOT help. It's not that kind of item that I'm sentimental about. Sometimes I just have a deep/intense feelings about the particular item--maybe because I regret getting it, or I feel like giving it away is a waste of money, etc.

Well, I just go through it. I feel the pain. I allow myself to feel that sense of loss for a while the whole time remembering that : first the emotion of loss WILL pass shortly, and that I will remember this now and learn from it the next time I'll be less likely to allow this type of thing back in the house. I also will sort of take a few breaths and have a vision of the open space, the less time cleaning and the reduced stress.

Sometimes focusing on what you gain, and the value of that helps. But, even when I do that sometimes TEMPORARILY it still hurts.

I personally believe this is normal. I'm overall not very sentimental about things thankfully, but apparently there are still a few things that I do feel emotions about and when nothing else works I just grit my teeth and bear it!

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#34 of 47 Old 09-25-2009, 12:56 PM
 
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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. :
I clean out/declutter SOMETHING during that show. My parents had a hoarding habit, though they kept the absolute worst of it to their basement (which unfortunately is like the size of our house), and I remember being in their house, the emotions that it evoked when being surrounded by it.

And, the memories I had AFTER my dad passed on. The hot water heater had broken and leaked....and they did NOT get a new one. They had lived w/o hot water for months if not years and hadn't told anyone. My dad wasn't well enough to fix it and they were ashamed of allowing anyone in the basement. So, when he died we had to go to some friends to shower before the funeral. Thankfully my brother is handy and installed a new one for her.

Stuff like that--the fact that they lived with multiple BROKEN things for years because of the clutter...just yikes. What a waste. I think sometimes how much extra stress that added to Dad's life...how that might have affected the way he lived and the fact he died from a catastrophic heart attack.

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#35 of 47 Old 09-25-2009, 01:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by goosysmom View Post
But the room is now filled with boxes HE packed while we were away for a weekend and I look at it now and it's overwhelming.......bc I know it's just a mix of things in each box and I have to sort through it and make more piles than I really needed too.
I understand your frustration about how he did it. Just a thought, do you really need more piles? You probably just need 4, no matter what box you are going through or how mixed up it is: Keep (so you put it AWAY when you decide to keep it, not back in the box), Freecycle (or other donate/give away/etc.), Trash, and Review (only if you must, of course - but some things you might choose to put back in the "outbox" and think about it some more).

So it really shouldn't matter if toyx are mixed up with sweaters, the question is the same: am I going to keep it, give it away, trash it, or think about it some more?

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#36 of 47 Old 09-25-2009, 06:59 PM
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I didn't see this:

Go through and put everything that is really clutter into a box. Set it aside. A month of so later, have hubby go through the box and throw stuff out. It'll be easier for him than for you. He can collect a box of stuff too for you to go through.
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#37 of 47 Old 09-25-2009, 08:01 PM
 
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Try doing it over the period of a few weeks. I find that on the first go round, I get rid of obvious stuff that I don't need. Each time after that, I get rid of more and more. It gets easier each time. Probably because if I were to get rid of all of it at the same time, I would see that whole pile of stuff and feel like I'm giving up too much. But when I do it and then come back, it is just a little of the stuff that I have each time.

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#38 of 47 Old 09-27-2009, 12:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
I understand your frustration about how he did it. Just a thought, do you really need more piles? You probably just need 4, no matter what box you are going through or how mixed up it is: Keep (so you put it AWAY when you decide to keep it, not back in the box), Freecycle (or other donate/give away/etc.), Trash, and Review (only if you must, of course - but some things you might choose to put back in the "outbox" and think about it some more).

So it really shouldn't matter if toyx are mixed up with sweaters, the question is the same: am I going to keep it, give it away, trash it, or think about it some more?
I agree. I think that you might be planning to sort and purge at the same time? That will slow you down. Try to process each box at high speed -- it doesn't matter what is in each one. Have 3 boxes -- "trash", "give away", and put away. Your "put away" boxes will end up having a jumble of stuff in them, but there will be less stuff because you will have decluttered a significant amount, right ? Then you can sort the remaining items and put them away. I would recommend doing some kind of preparatory deep breathing exercise to let go of the frustration of how the boxes ended up like that, because that will suck your energy away from the task that you want to accomplish.

Once you've gotten through all the boxes, you could consider doing what I would like to do. I've read some books on organization for ADHD people. My dh doesn't have ADHD, but I think that a lot of the organization tips would work well for most people who aren't that interested in putting stuff away (most children and many men and many women). I would like to rework our frequently used storage to make things super easy to put away and really obvious where everything goes. I don't know if that would help things in your household, but I think it would help in mine.

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#39 of 47 Old 09-29-2009, 08:13 PM
 
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I agree. I think that you might be planning to sort and purge at the same time? That will slow you down. Try to process each box at high speed -- it doesn't matter what is in each one. Have 3 boxes -- "trash", "give away", and put away. Your "put away" boxes will end up having a jumble of stuff in them, but there will be less stuff because you will have decluttered a significant amount, right ? Then you can sort the remaining items and put them away. I would recommend doing some kind of preparatory deep breathing exercise to let go of the frustration of how the boxes ended up like that, because that will suck your energy away from the task that you want to accomplish.

Once you've gotten through all the boxes, you could consider doing what I would like to do. I've read some books on organization for ADHD people. My dh doesn't have ADHD, but I think that a lot of the organization tips would work well for most people who aren't that interested in putting stuff away (most children and many men and many women). I would like to rework our frequently used storage to make things super easy to put away and really obvious where everything goes. I don't know if that would help things in your household, but I think it would help in mine.
Thanks. I do need to let go of the frustration of how the boxes ended up like that, the frustration over the fact that if it's NOT HIS, he will not pick it up (which I think makes him more like a child than a 37yo man but that's a different post for a different time....lol), etc......

I just need to sit down and do it. Find someone I trust to take the kids for the day while he's at work on a Saturday and another friend to come and chat with me bc I can't be alone to do it....I need someone there to talk too or I get caught up reading things, thinking about things and waste time....lol.

I like the idea of that kind of organizing. I am headed to the library this weekend so I'll see what's there.

THANKS!
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#40 of 47 Old 10-05-2009, 01:21 PM
 
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Well, I went through about 20 of the boxes and tossed 10 of them. I have 20 more to go and then I will have a workable room.

In the meantime, after a long converstation with him and my best friend of 22 years who is a counselor, he's moving out. We are taking time apart, for the second time in 2 years to see how things go. I think without the stress of him just sweeping thorugh and boxing things at whim if I'm out of the house longer than 90 minutes will help.

It feels like a huge boulder has been lifted off my shoulders cleaning out the boxes and tossng things (well, donated bc i'm filing self employment taxes this year for my sewing and cake making and NEED that deduction) AND the white elephant of living with someone who treats me like a child and a burden.......

So we'll see. We did it a year ago and did ok. It was just ok but we were happy. My kids missed their dad so I thought I would give it another shot.

But I feel good and HAPPY.......so we'll see. It's a start but it's a huge one.

Thanks!
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#41 of 47 Old 10-12-2009, 02:38 AM
 
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I'm just trying to avoid accumulating clutter, but you have to be on top of things, or it will drift in! A couple of things I ask myself are, "if I had to evacuate, would I take it?" & "if I was moving to a new house, would I need it?"

The "if you're not sure, put it in a carefully labeled box for a while, then get rid of it if you don't use/need it" trick is good, too.

We actually did lose all of our belongings in a fire 2 years ago, but while evacuating, I grabbed our "important documents" binder, & DH grabbed the computer hard drive, along with our babies & pets; there's a lot of stuff I wish I'd brought, but really, although there's irreplaceable sentimental stuff (photo albums, heirloom jewelry, hand-made craft items & tools, & the like), we didn't really look at the albums much (& had some of the more important pics scanned into the hard drive), I don't wear much jewelry, & I still have the skills to make more special craft items. Other things, we have the memories.

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#42 of 47 Old 10-12-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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My parents have many health issues and recently moved from their farm (large farmhouse and barns) to a senior living apartment (two bedrooms, a few closets). My brother and I spent weeks going through the hundreds of boxes... rotten clothing, mildewed books, report cards from decades ago, hodge podge boxes of who knew what. Some boxes were 20-30 years old!

My brother ended up keeping 5-6 boxes, as did I. Hundreds of boxes cut down to fewer than a dozen. And even that dozen is likely to be downsized.

I think seeing how the emotional "save it all" plays out in someone else's life makes it easier to avoid in your own... I haven't seen the TV shows, but it sounds like the same thing. You can look objectively at someone else's "mess" since it's not your emotionally laden stuff. And then you can look more objectively at your own piles.

~~~~~~~~~~
I also use a technique my friend calls "kamikazi cleaning" where you don't let yourself hesitate at all... you can sort a lot of stuff into keep/trash/donate if you set a timer and go as fast as possible for 5 minutes, or ten minutes tops. I've got a real weakness for books and with a timer and a box I can purge a bookcase in minutes! Same thing with clothing and nick-nacks.

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#43 of 47 Old 10-12-2009, 06:26 PM
 
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:... I've read some books on organization for ADHD people. My dh doesn't have ADHD, but I think that a lot of the organization tips would work well for most people ....
Can you give us the name of those books?
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#44 of 47 Old 10-13-2009, 12:12 AM
 
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When we donated all of our things so that we could travel for a year (and simplify) I used several tactics:

If we didn't know we had it, didn't know where it was or hadn't used it in a year we didn't consider keeping it. Actually, we used this rule each time we packed for moving and generally donated an amazing amount of things with each move.... so they could re-accumulate at the new place

Another thing we asked ourselves was to find the intrinsic value of the item... and be honest... most things didn't actually have anything.

Anything that was kept simply because it "really might be useful!!" was an immediate NO.

Anything that posed a health risk to our family (plastics, painted items, aluminum cookware, etc) was tossed.

Duplicates of anything were mostly tossed.

At the end we filled two moving trucks with donations and whittled down our things to those that fit on a small RV and some boxes of sentimental items and books. Ultimately we couldn't fit everything we planned to on the RV and had to reapply our rules as we tried to organize, and honestly, we were never in need of anything despite this.

The sentimental items had to be trimmed way down too, because it all had to fit in one of my father's apartment closets. This was the only thing that was TRULY difficult. I went through the boxes over and over not finding anything that I could part with permanently, under the watchful lens of a photojournalist who was documenting the whole process, and I finally laid down on the floor and cried (the first time). I went to bed for the night, and in the morning I got rid of at least half of it, so that it all fit in the closet. I did not get rid of books LOL but trimmed my sentimental items to one small box.

A year and a half later and I could not tell you what it was that was so hard to let go of. I don't miss it, I haven't thought of it, my life is no less full without whatever it was.

My advice: Just do it... rip the bandage off and feel the relief in the healing end.

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#45 of 47 Old 10-13-2009, 04:41 AM
 
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Can you give us the name of those books?
One I like is:
Organizing Solutions for People With Attention Deficit Disorder: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized

This book has a lot of ideas about how people use space and can be helpful for problem-solving. Some of her solutions won't work for you, but honestly I think a lot of her ideas would work for most families where at least one member isn't that interested in maintaining order. I really like the before and after photos in the book. They are very eye-opening! I grew up with stuff crammed in storage spaces and I still live that way. Her book shows how to store things in such a way that you don't have to be a Tetris expert in order to put something away.

Check it out from the library at least!

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#46 of 47 Old 10-15-2009, 11:11 AM
 
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This may sound a little weird, but after going through a house fire when I was in high school and losing pretty much everything, I ask myself "If my house burned down tomorrow, would I really care about losing this item?" This is a huge help in getting rid of 95% of clutter for me.

For clothes in particular, this is a weakness of mine as I love new clothes, I have a rule that for every item I put into my closet I have to remove at least one item. And really, if I haven't worn something for a year (except maybe dresses for fancy occasions or suits for interviews), how likely am I to wear it in the future? Especially for me with how much I love to buy new clothes.

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#47 of 47 Old 10-20-2009, 11:13 AM
 
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I took my favorite things, like some artwork from my childhood and turned it into a special memento that now takes up only a small space on my son's wall. I made a collage out of my favorite pieces of my childhood artwork and let go of the rest. I took my son's home from the hospital outfit and had a shadow box made with a few other special memento's in it. Now, we do get him a Harley shirt from all the place we have traveled. I am working on a small quilt made from those that no longer fit. I also have his first Harley outfit shadow boxed.

I had to get rid of 4 boxes of family "heirlooms" after I became the recipient of them, though I didn't want them. They were kinda forced on me with the stipulation I would never get rid of them. I kept them for about 2 years and 7 moves and decided I had had enough. I called the gifter and when they were not wanted, I donated all 4 bins. My thought is it is my home and how do I want it to feel and how do I want to live.

Find creative and special ways to preserve those important things and donate, sell or give back the rest. Good luck!!!
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