Does anyone else get emotionally attached to their clutter? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 01-28-2011, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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For me the big one is clothes. I have more clothes than anyone one person could ever need and I can't bring myself to get rid of them. Every time I try to pick out things to throw out or donate or cut up into rags, I remember an important time in my life that I was wearing said item of clothing, and I just can't bring myself to part with it. And it's the same with other random items in my house. And if I'm not emotionally attached, I come up with some scenario where I might need the item in the future. I can't get rid of anything. I'm drowning in clutter. 

 

Does anyone else have this problem? If so, how do you deal with it?


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#2 of 20 Old 01-28-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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A lot of people have this problem.

 

One strategy I've heard of is to photograph the item before giving/throwing away. Then you can "keep" it in your heart and memory, but a digital photo takes no extra space.

 

For needing an item in the future, some people can look at an item and say "okay, this was what, $15? On the off chance that I might need it a year from now, will it hurt that much to replace it for $15? And for $15, which would I rather have, the item that I don't currently need, or a decluttered space?"

 

Another tactic is to have a storage place for potential castoffs. Give yourself a specific time and mark it in your calendar or whatever. Maybe 3 months, 6 months. No more than a year, and only that long for items that might be specific to the season (like a bathing suit or winter boots, obviously a 3 month wait in the off season isn't a real test). Then if you haven't needed it in that period, then you can let it go. This requires some other factors to work, though: you can't replace the clutter in the meantime. So if you're holding on to a bunch of stuff and then adding more, that's just making it worse than if you had just kept the stuff out. I personally believe you should not pay to store, that is not a good idea for multiple reasons. You should be committed to the process. And if you find yourself emotionally hanging on to stuff you didn't miss or need during the time period, take a photo and give it away.

 

I hope these might be helpful ideas for you. There are other strategies as well, and hopefully people will chime in with more.


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#3 of 20 Old 01-31-2011, 05:54 AM
 
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I have this problem .... have had for years ... and am slowly, very slowly dealing with it ....

 

I read a lot here, I baught a few books about organisation & am presently trying to read (yeah ... trying ot because even just picking up the book ... is sort of hard, I don't find that I can concentrate very well on that subject, it makes me nervous just to start/think about it ...) "Does this clutter make my butt look fat ?"

 

I have a weight problem too, so far I've made a little more progress on the weight problem very recently, but am still ever so slow to tackle the "stuff" clutter ... DH thinks it's too slow of course ...

 

so no advice to you

... but I keep hoping others will give more advice about it

thanks laohaire, ... but taking a picture doesn't quite work for me right now ...

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#4 of 20 Old 01-31-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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I don't think I'm as emotionally attached as a lot of people, but I definitely see the useful-side of junk. And it's not the amount, it's effort of going out and finding the thing again when it's right there in my house.

 

But what's been working for me is to say goodbye to things and acknowledge their contribution to my life. I spent my early career in textbook publishing and I have a bunch of books with "my name" in them. I can now look at them and say - this was a great honor. I was really proud of these books, it was cool to see my name, but this isn't my field, the books are old - so long and thanks for all the memories. DONE!

 

I recently put a book out in my living room and I said goodbye. "They" tell you that you shouldn't look at and touch and "bond" with your stuff again, but I'm somehow in a place where that is helpful to me.

 

Remember - your memory isn't in the THING, it's in your head. Getting rid of the thing won't change your memory of the event. It's NOT giving up a part of the person to get rid of the thing. That "Peter" guy from that show said this a lot. You have to live in the NOW. Not the past when things did happen and not the future when things might happen, but the now. What is useful and good now?


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#5 of 20 Old 01-31-2011, 05:12 PM
 
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Ive found that a big peace is not pushing myself if I get rid of one thing before I'm ready I end up holding onto 5 more things to " make up for it " not consciously but that's what happens .

Ive found that a big peace is asking myself if it makes me happy . I found myself holding into so many things that had memories attached and I just could t get rid of them until I realized they where memories and events Ive been trying to get past and moving out the clutter has really helped me let go of people places and events I don't want weighing me down in the NOW

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#6 of 20 Old 01-31-2011, 05:22 PM
 
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So, I have noticed I have things I like to hold onto. I feel this okay on a small scale if the items are beautiful or useful in some way and not literally crowding my family out of house and home.

 

 

I love wrapping paper and gift bags. The whole stash fits in a rubbermaid under the bed storage box. When the box is full, I don't buy anymore until I've used up some. My friends and neighbors know that they can come and raid my stash if they have a "gift" emergency. Said stash is also under a guest bed..  so no harm, no foul.

 

I also love candles, candle holders and the like. My stash fills two baskets that sit on a shelf in the under the staircase closet. If the power goes out, I have lanterns and candlesticks for candles and everyone in the family can safely light their way to bed. Once again, once the baskets are filled, I try to lay off acquiring until some are used up.

 

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#7 of 20 Old 01-31-2011, 07:15 PM
 
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I do.. for me the emotional attachment is having a bit of a fear of throwing something out that I may regret.

 

Especially as it happened last night, realised I had tossed DH's summer pyjamas because he never wore them, so of course as soon as I toss them, he starts looking for them! blush.gif

 

But I pointed out to him that he hasn't worn them for a long time, but still I felt a BIT bad for giving away something we will now need to replace. Overall I didn't feel too bad about it because his shelves are so nice and clean now.

 

When it comes down to it, I think well OK it's just a pair of PJs that are not expensive, so i try to work out why it makes me feel bad. 

 

I think it goes back to my childhood and the guilt about waste, as we never had much money, so having tossed the wrong thing is like a failure feeling....which kind of gets me in the pit of my stomach....

 

BUT I have to remind myself that regretting a few things is really much preferable to having clutter!  I have got rid of hundreds of clothes and really only had second thoughts about a couple of things, so I think that overall the benefits have FAR_OUTWEIGHED the losses.

 

So if you are drowning in clutter...try to remember a few things:

 

 

If you live in a western country, clothes are usually inexpensive to replace.

 

Your clothes need to be easily accessible otherwise you won't wear them, so having them jammed into a closet will mean you wear even less of them

 

most people wear only 20% of their clothes 80% of the time

 

you don't need 20 white T-shirts (just as an example)...so avoid buying duplicates of an item you like to wear, and if you have duplicates get rid of them.

 

Get rid of any tatty or uncomfortable underwear...only keep the ones you always reach for.

 

If you are keeping clothing due to the memories it brings back, you are keeping yourself stuck in the past, and not allowing yourself to be open to good things happening to you in the future. If it is really that important to you, take a photo of the dress/t-shirt etc, or cut a small piece of it and keep it somewhere, such as stick it in a scrapbook with some notes written about it.

 

One in, one out...if you plan to buy a new clothing item, make a decision to throw another one out.

 

 


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#8 of 20 Old 01-31-2011, 08:24 PM
 
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Yes I get emotionally attached to stuff. I am just now able to let go of silly things that were my Grammy's. She has been gone for over 10 years now. I kept things like the calculator I always rmember being in her kitchen drawer. Bad, I know. I have gotten so much better since my DS was born and have been able to let go of things withouot a second thought. It feels so good to get rid of clutter. I still have the memories :) The bad thing is though that I am REALLY attaches to everything to do with my DS now. Maybe it will get better as times goes on????

 

I just wanted to say that I get it and you are not alone. I used to be really bad and then realized that I did not need to keep silly things to remember. I do my best to repurpose things that really mean something to me. Maybe you could use the material of the clothing to make a blanket or something? A memory blanket of sorts.


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#9 of 20 Old 02-01-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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I was pretty attached to a lot of *stuff*.  When I finally realized how much it was weighing my life down I sat down and really thought about it all.  When I'm decluttering now I ask myself *if the house burned down tomorrow would I mourne for this item?*  The answer is almost always no, and that makes it so much easier to toss stuff.

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#10 of 20 Old 02-01-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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I get attached. I collect dolls, and collecting is by definition cluttering. bag.gif I have long resolved to pare down my collection to just 1 curio but every time I try to decide which doll should go I feel attached to it and bad about giving it up. My other vice - cooking gear and nice pots, but I'm getting better.
I found that once I've started decluttering it became easier to let things go, but it is a process for me and I still have ways to go.

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#11 of 20 Old 02-15-2011, 07:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clutterwarrior View Post


When it comes down to it, I think well OK it's just a pair of PJs that are not expensive, so i try to work out why it makes me feel bad. 

 

I think it goes back to my childhood and the guilt about waste, as we never had much money, so having tossed the wrong thing is like a failure feeling....which kind of gets me in the pit of my stomach....

 

 

 

BUT I have to remind myself that regretting a few things is really much preferable to having clutter!  I have got rid of hundreds of clothes and really only had second thoughts about a couple of things, so I think that overall the benefits have FAR_OUTWEIGHED the losses.

 


So the first 2 lines are so me...we've been poor forever, and I'm having troubles with NOT being poor all the time, and wanting to buy more stuff.  And still having trouble getting rid of the layers that we DO have.  I get all of it tidied up, gobs out of the house (I'm at 503/2011 now in the 2011 in 2011 challenge) and see that there is still TOO much.  The question is where to go now.  I'm sick right now and don't have the energy to be really busy on it right now, but it's frustrating to see what needs to be done, then be attached to the things that need to go out!


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#12 of 20 Old 02-15-2011, 10:25 PM
 
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I had the same problem. I emptied it out in one day. An entire minivan full, packed full actually, of clothes, seriously. Think of it this way - you can ALWAYS get it back somehow if you REALLY need it (which you don't). That thought and God is what helped me. 

 

I haven't thought about or needed ANY of it. 

 

You will feel and be free...  you just gotta do it hug2.gif

 

Plus you will have room for other things to come into your life winky.gif

 

Much love!

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#13 of 20 Old 03-14-2011, 06:35 PM
 
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I think de-cluttering is hard for most people, but in the end you have to prioritize.  For some people they can keep everything in their huge walk in closets, it's always neat.  For me this isn't the case.  I am not neat by nature, and I have a normal to small closet.  I have a couple of sentimental items because I love, love, love them and not due to having worn them at a special occasion, although sometimes I love the item I wore to the special occasion.  For instance I have my wedding dress because I love it.  If I find someone who ever wants/needs to wear it that would make me happy, but I enjoy keeping it and I do have a place for it.  I also have the dress I bought for my 40th birthday because I'm madly in love with it.  I've worn it once since (it is very fun, it's a custom dress from Etsy with a tulle skirt), but it isn't practical and has a tiny rip, but it fits in my closet so I keep it.  What I will never keep are more basic things I don't wear often, like pants, t-shirts, anything from target or old navy type stores, anything stained, ripped, or that looks horrible on me, no matter what the memory.  

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#14 of 20 Old 03-14-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livinlovinlaughin View Post

 

I just wanted to say that I get it and you are not alone. I used to be really bad and then realized that I did not need to keep silly things to remember. I do my best to repurpose things that really mean something to me. Maybe you could use the material of the clothing to make a blanket or something? A memory blanket of sorts.



I just wanted to comment on the memory blanket. A few months ago I was purging old t-shirts. I had over 20 I never really wore (I really only wear tshirts to bed), but held a special memory because I got most of them from a special trip, or camp, or from college. I talked to my grandmother and we cut the designs out and made a t-shirt quilt. I'll be moving to a cooler climate in a few months and will a quilt will be very useful, plus it's a nice way to keep the memories but clear clutter from my closet. I kept maybe 4 shirts whole that I wear sometimes, and that I couldn't bear to cut up. The rest are in the quilt or gone. 

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#15 of 20 Old 03-15-2011, 12:01 PM
 
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I am such a sentimental person, so I can also empathize!  Here is my internal dialogue:

 

- is this item so important that I wear it/display it/etc. regularly?

- is this an item that someone else might actually get more use out of, and there, has a purpose other than sitting in my closet/attic/etc.

- is this special b/c it came from someone I love?  Do I have other things from that person that mean more or that are more functional?

- is the sentimentality all in my head - do I just need to let go and realize that a pair of Mary Janes I wore in college 15 yrs ago are not my current style, are not worth the space, are not being used, and are not deserving of what little space I have?

 

It has taken me several years into my decluttering journey to become more objective about things...there are honestly times that I get so overwhelmed that I go on a donation/trash spree.  And I always feel so much better after each cathartic episode orngtongue.gif

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#16 of 20 Old 03-15-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justmeandmybrood View Post

I am such a sentimental person, so I can also empathize!  Here is my internal dialogue:

 

- is this item so important that I wear it/display it/etc. regularly?

- is this an item that someone else might actually get more use out of, and there, has a purpose other than sitting in my closet/attic/etc.

- is this special b/c it came from someone I love?  Do I have other things from that person that mean more or that are more functional?

- is the sentimentality all in my head - do I just need to let go and realize that a pair of Mary Janes I wore in college 15 yrs ago are not my current style, are not worth the space, are not being used, and are not deserving of what little space I have?

 

It has taken me several years into my decluttering journey to become more objective about things...there are honestly times that I get so overwhelmed that I go on a donation/trash spree.  And I always feel so much better after each cathartic episode orngtongue.gif


This is great! I am printing out this list to tattoo to my forearm...carry round the house while I declutter!!  thumb.gif

 


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#17 of 20 Old 03-15-2011, 07:07 PM
 
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CW, thanks!  I have learned from some of the best in this very forum winky.gif

 

Now if only I could follow it through 100%, hee hee!

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#18 of 20 Old 03-24-2011, 09:31 PM
 
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  • i have squares of great shirts set up for quilts

(i iron on water soluble fusing to the back of them before cutting into shape, making it super easy to sew them later)

* remember little quilts are great for hanging on walls as art!

 

  • i have some fabric from dresses and larger things set aside that im going to make little stuffed animals out of,

(they can either go to my kids or just sit on a high shelf keeping me company)

 

  • i have turned some great things into hats and matching handbags

(this is usally for really nice stuff that i dont fit any longer but was amazing)

 

  • other fabric i cut out and used as the matting in a picture frame of the event that i wore it to or it represented

(it can also line the box or shadow frame you stash mementoes in)

*this also works with great paper, or old papers about things that i was saving (playbills, maps and the like)


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#19 of 20 Old 04-03-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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 I can relate. I hold onto things that I do not need because I am sentimental. It stems from when I was a kid and other kids picked on me - I didn't have many friends. When someone was nice to me or gave me something out of kindness I didn't ever want to give it away. I began to attach sentimental memories to objects and end up keeping things that no longer serve me any other purpose. It's been quite a struggle and I am only just beginning to change. I started a massive clothes de-clutter. Taking pictures have helped. There are some old t-shirts with graphics that I love. I put them aside and brought them to my parent's house so my mom can turning them into shopping bags (I can't sew). I'm pregnant and I recently went though all of my maternity clothes. During my first pregnancy, a friend gave me her maternity clothes. I have kept them all of these years even though the friendship dissolved (mainly over my parenting choices). I kept them to remember all of the great times we had together. They no longer fit my person style. I finally let myself stop and think - these are maternity clothes. It was during my pregnancy that she became such a b*tch to me because she didn't agree with my birth choices or parenting choices. Why should I keep stuff from a person who turned on me. So, I sent them out to Goodwill.

 

 It's a slow process. Baby steps. But, I'm really hoping to fix my mindset and free my whole family from this clutter.


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#20 of 20 Old 04-05-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by MrsMike View PostWhy should I keep stuff from a person who turned on me. So, I sent them out to Goodwill.

 

 It's a slow process. Baby steps. But, I'm really hoping to fix my mindset and free my whole family from this clutter.

Good for you! thumb.gif
 

 


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