Thoughts on indecision/clutter - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 09-19-2010, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"Clutter is the by-product of indecision. Make sure everything in your space is there because you choose to keep it."

This was in Whole Living recently. I read it and it really resonated with me. I have no trouble cleaning and putting things away but after I do that I am always left with a pile of stuff that I don't know what to do with. Indecision! I don't decide where it belongs, if I really need it, if I should give it away etc. So I stash it away. Granted overtime I've slowly decreased the amount of stuff in this category but it still exists! The easy part of cleaning out a closet/cabinet etc is the first two categories: Definitely keep, get rid of (donate or trash), the worst category is the middle stuff and the indecision that goes along with it.

Anyone else have some thoughts on this?

Melissa- mom to a boy 9/06 and a new boy 11/10 and married to my best friend 7/02
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#2 of 11 Old 09-20-2010, 06:02 AM
 
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This is me!! I don't know how to overcome it, but when I do things will be nicer! I feel like I need to ask someone what to with the stuff, lol. I'm not sure why its hard for me, but it is!

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#3 of 11 Old 09-20-2010, 06:07 AM
 
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That quote definitely resonates with me also. Indecision, the story of my life!

I sometimes reach a decision to get rid of something, then start backtracking and doubting my decision. I sometimes wonder why it has to be this hard!

For me I think a lot of it stems from my fear of regretting it later, and not being able to afford to buy things later on if our situation gets tougher financially.

SAHM to three
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#4 of 11 Old 09-20-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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I'm a big indecision clutterer, too. I've been watching "Hoarders" lately, though... and it's sort of horrifying how much I can see my thinking not being so far different from these hoarders... especially the ones who say "well, I just never have anyplace to put these things, so they're waiting in limbo" or some such. my house isn't to *that* extent, but I can identify with them (though I'm more under control) and it scares me!!

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#5 of 11 Old 09-20-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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This is me too. Even when I was nesting and cleaning as much as possible in every room, I still had miscellaneous bins/baskets in every room and 4 or 5 stashed in the spare room and another 3 or 4 in a bedroom upstairs. I hate that crap.

Mom to: Honey (6/04) and Bunny (9/09)
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#6 of 11 Old 09-20-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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Yes indecision gets me too, that and procrastination, and not having a place for everything

I've cleaned out a drawer and put virtually every thing back into it just because it was too hard to "decide"

I'm also notorious for doing this with all the stray batteries, pen caps, paper clips, screws and other assorted tiny items that get thrown in the junk drawer...I did throw it all out one time~ but it took *tremendous* effort and I was quite uncomfortable and guilty about it lol
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#7 of 11 Old 09-20-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clutterwarrior View Post
That quote definitely resonates with me also. Indecision, the story of my life!

I sometimes reach a decision to get rid of something, then start backtracking and doubting my decision. I sometimes wonder why it has to be this hard!

For me I think a lot of it stems from my fear of regretting it later, and not being able to afford to buy things later on if our situation gets tougher financially.
This is me as well. It's so tough!

One happy mama to 1/06 , 3/10 , and married to my best friend
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#8 of 11 Old 09-21-2010, 10:57 AM
 
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This is my tribe, definitely.
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#9 of 11 Old 09-21-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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I recently read _Stuff_, and one of the things that struck me was that the fear of regret in people who keep too much junk is exaggerated. That is, the person fears that they'll regret throwing something out, so they keep it, so they don't get to experience the regret and find out whether it really would have been very bad. And they keep doing that, and keep doing that, and so they _never_ get to experience that regret, and by putting so much work into avoiding the regret, the possibility of experiencing it looms larger and larger and scarier and scarier. They put so much effort into avoiding it, it _must_ be horrible, right? So that they do experience anxiety, but it's anxiety about _the possibility of regret_, not the actual regret itself.

When the _Stuff_ doctors pushed people to throw something out, and asked what they thought their anxiety would be like and how long it would last, the people predicted that it would be, say, a level 8 (out of 10) and last for the rest of their lives. Then they threw the item out, and found that the anxiety was a level six for fifteen minutes, a level three for another few hours and then it was gone. And then the next thing thrown out produced even less anxiety. (I'm making up those numbers, but that's the general idea.)

It's rather like, oh... well, imagine that you somehow avoided meeting a dog your whole life, and one day you read _Cujo_ and decided that, oh, my, you're going to make _darn sure_ you never meet a dog. So you structure large parts of your life around never, ever meeting a dog, and over the years the very idea is so horrifying that you go into a panic attack at the thought.

And then one day you unexpectedly encounter a puppy, and you realize, what was I so afraid of?

So all this adds up to: Pick some small thing that you fear you'll regret tossing. Toss it. Experience the fact that the regret didn't kill you. Do it again, and again, and again, slowly doing it with bigger and more important things, until the part of your brain that has been trained to fear regret learns that, well, no, it's pretty much just a puppy. Yeah, once in a while you might make a non-trivial mistake, and even that mistake just isn't going to be that bad - certainly not as bad as living with the junk for the rest of your life, which is what will happen if you can't learn to throw it out.

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#10 of 11 Old 09-21-2010, 07:44 PM
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good call, crayfish. i'll talk to DH about that, because he *loves* to hold onto papers. it's weird. it's like, an old receipt for food from three years ago, man, you can let it go.
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#11 of 11 Old 09-21-2010, 08:34 PM
 
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Well Crayfish I think I got to experience that yesterday for real...and I realised it has been a turning point for me.

What happened was I took 30 items of clothing to a recycled clothing store, some I had mixed feelings about selling as quite a few were still new with tags.

The lady said I needed to leave them there, so I signed for them and left. She rang 2 hours later and said that she had gone through them and couldn't sell any of them, as they were mainly "$50 tops"....I live in one of the most expensive areas of Australia (despite not having the bank balance to match where I live) so they prefer to sell only more expensive brands it seems

She said she could hand them on to the women's refuge.

At that moment I felt the panic of losing my things hit me, and I said no I would come and get them.

After getting off the phone, I suddenly thought, what am I doing, I need to declutter, why not give these clothes to women who really need them and will appreciate them, and not take up more of my time going to get them and cluttering my house once more with them!

So I rang her back and said yes give them to the refuge, I told them that is was a great idea and I would try to find more to give to the refuge also.

After this I felt curiously light, as I realised that I could from now on be more decisive about getting rid of clothes. I wasn't going to have to regret it! I am still feeling rather stunned that I just went out and basically gave away new things without getting any money back for them, but it has helped me deal with getting rid of that attachment to the supposed value of things, and also has made me think seriously about being way more careful about what I buy in future.

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