How to sort and declutter when your life in the middle of big changes or in limbo? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 09-14-2012, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I need to radically declutter my life, I know that much. And I'm also about to move, in just a few weeks, not of my own choice, but it's in the same town and we'll make it work. I have 21m old twins and a DH that works long hours, so the main load of this will be on me, thankfully most of the crap we own is also my fault so its ok that I am the one that needs to get my ass in gear.

 

in a general sense i know how to declutter,

i know the "if you haven't worn it in a year, you dont need it",

or " is it left it in a box since move? dont bother unpacking it now" frame of mind and that will help in some cases.

i also am stating to make great picture books of mementoes rather than keep the item itself, (things like ticket stubs and shwag from festivals)

 

 

but what do you do when you haven't worn it because you have been breast-feeding or getting spit on for the last two years but do plan on looking nice again some day, or are temporary living somewhere with a very different climate than you are usually in and are going back to in another 12-18 months?

 

what if its in a box because your babies have not let you get back to your career or hobby, but the stuff cost a lot of is a hassle to collect so you keep it with a pretty safe assumption that someday you will have time once the kids go to school (as soon as next year for me)

 

or things that are in boxes still because we are renting and got here super preggo and they were not safe to put out for babies, but again someday i can have nice things again, right? some of these are heirlooms or will be to my kids?

 

 

 

So am I making excuses for my huge pile of crap and i need to get over it and get tossing?

Or am I acknowledging that my life is in major transition and adjusting plans based on that?

How do I know when its the latter and when its the former, knowing that I have life history of being a pack rat and overly sentimental of physical objects.


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#2 of 29 Old 09-14-2012, 04:53 PM
 
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plan with the changes in mind. If it is  reasonably easy to replace and it will be over a year before you might need it I say toss it, otherwise hang on to it. But go through the stuff and reconsider each item. 

 

It is such a pain, I am going through my house and downsizing and it's annoying, time consuming and making my whole house a hot mess. Good Luck.


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#3 of 29 Old 09-14-2012, 05:55 PM
 
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I think it is absolutely reasonable to keep items you anticipate needing within the next year or two, especially things that would be costly or troublesome to replace. It crosses over into 'making excuses' when you're not being realistic -- like if you are saving clothes that you'd never actually wear again (because they'd be out of style or otherwise inappropriate or you just like to buy new clothes), or keeping broken items in hopes that you might fix them someday, or saving paints that will dry out or a 35mm camera when you don't have plans for an in-home darkroom. I'm glad I saved my pre-kid basic clothes because now several years later they finally fit again & I'm no longer nursing and I am making good use of them, but I'm glad I donated the stuff that was torn or trendy or just not suitable to my current lifestyle... and very glad I got rid of all the random things I'd been saving "just in case" I might need them someday.

You can definitely save 'nice things' and have nice things in your home again when the kids are bigger! What worries me about your statement is that "some of these are heirlooms or will be to my kids" -- maybe that is truly the case but the real question is, do you love it? Would you have it in your house RIGHT NOW if you didn't have such young kids? If not, then it's not worth keeping. If it's too fancy or nice to ever put out until the kids are in college, then it's probably not worth keeping. If you're saving heirlooms for your kids' future homes but would never use them in your own home, then it's not worth keeping.

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#4 of 29 Old 09-14-2012, 07:43 PM
 
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I agree, totally reasonable to keep things that you are genuinely not using because of a temporary situation. I have a bag of clothes which I fully intend to be able to wear again once I'm not pregnant. And I also have a box of breakables which I love but am not sacrificing to a toddler or two. If I didn't have little children they would be displayed or used. I also had my sewing machine and other sewing things packed away for a year or so after we moved because I had no space for them and no time to sew. Now we are in our permanent home they are out again and in regular use.

If you have the time it is probably well worth going through everything and trying to make a realistic assessment of their future usefulness or how much you love them so you can mimise the amount you need to move.

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#5 of 29 Old 09-14-2012, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View PostIt crosses over into 'making excuses' when you're not being realistic -- like if you are saving clothes that you'd never actually wear again (because they'd be out of style or otherwise inappropriate or you just like to buy new clothes), or keeping broken items in hopes that you might fix them someday

 

yeah good advice, i am getting better separating style from fashion when it comes to clothes since i have a good amount that clearly belongs in each category, and your so right that by the time i get a chance to wear some of this stuff again, i will probably not be caught dead in some of the fashion, while the items of true style will still be amazing in 10 years let alone 2.

and boy i'm so bad at keeping stuff because i think i will fix it, or more likely in my case, make something new out of it.  thats a great category for me to be brutal with.

 

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You can definitely save 'nice things' and have nice things in your home again when the kids are bigger! What worries me about your statement is that "some of these are heirlooms or will be to my kids" -- maybe that is truly the case but the real question is, do you love it?

great point and no worries here, this is stuff i dearly love, would be on display as often was until the started climbing on things and pulling stuff down and will be loved again sooner rather than later. i need to make some nice shadow boxes for some of it, mostly just to group and make things more like a display and less like a clutter, but they are worth it.  my dads baby shoes, my grandmothers silver tea set, the velvet herbal dream pillow hand sewn by my mom for my 7th birthday, those things will never go away, i'll just have to make sure the rest of it is of a similar caliber i guess.


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#6 of 29 Old 09-14-2012, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you have the time it is probably well worth going through everything and trying to make a realistic assessment of their future usefulness or how much you love them so you can mimise the amount you need to move.

one the things that sucks is that we are planning another mor major move in the next year or so and i planned to go full bore and sort everything one piece at a time for that move.  i was not expecting to move with 4 weeks notice, with tiny toddlers.

so while im feeling like i need to do a large amount of sorting now, both to help us be more declutered and life in a calmer house and to help fit into a house with similar living spaces but way less storage and closets.  i also dont feel in a very good space logistically and even mentally to take this on now, i just know it needs to be done.


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#7 of 29 Old 09-14-2012, 10:55 PM
 
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Yeah that sucks. In that case Id probably change my advice to do what you can this time and leave the rest. Toddler twins + moving = survival mode IMO
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#8 of 29 Old 09-15-2012, 05:23 AM
 
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Call up a friend... not only can they help you pack up quickly, they can help you be brutal with tossing things, since they're not attached to your stuff!

But really... 4 weeks notice and twin toddlers... If you can manage to pack everything, that alone would be amazing. Sucks to move stuff you don't actually want to keep but really, it may be easier to just sort through stuff as you're unpacking instead. I don't think I'd unpack boxes now just to sort & repack & move them in a couple weeks.

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#9 of 29 Old 09-15-2012, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i was moved here 2 years ago, preggo, the only folks i know also have small kids, usally also twins, there will be no calling of friends, lame.


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#10 of 29 Old 09-15-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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Ahhh even if they have small kids they might help!! If I lived near you I would! Or at least watch the twins for a bit so you could pack uninterrupted!

(Coming from someone who is just starting to finally learn to ask for help... and surprised at just how much people are willing to do.)

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#11 of 29 Old 09-15-2012, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i do not feel like i have that kind of friendship with anyone here except for one mom, and she will probably come over with her singleton for play date that let me do some packing, other than that i have to admit to sucking in the go get some gal pals category since i have been here. the other folks i know, i know only on a more formal, not really do personal favors sort of way.  yeah i know, i suck and its biting me in the butt.  on the other hand i feel like part of being a grown up is that your friends no longer help you move and no longer get paid in beer and pizza.

 

probably the bigger issue too is that i have some very strong anxieties about my belongings and being a packrat, (bordering on hoarding in the past)

so having folks around while i sorted would make me feel like i imagine most folks would feel if the had to go ride the city bus stark naked.


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#12 of 29 Old 09-15-2012, 02:24 PM
 
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I can relate to that. I can't get friends to help, but I was able to allow a professional organizer in to help. She was just starting out and only charging $15 per hour. I don't think it's a failure not ot have friends that you can call on for personal favors, though. You've been raising twins for the past 2 years. That tends to hinder the social life just a bit. I don't have twins, and while I'm sure I could find someone to do plumbing work or heavy lifting, I don't know that I have friends locally that I could say, "Hey, can you come help me pack?"

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#13 of 29 Old 09-15-2012, 07:50 PM
 
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one the things that sucks is that we are planning another mor major move in the next year or so and i planned to go full bore and sort everything one piece at a time for that move.  i was not expecting to move with 4 weeks notice, with tiny toddlers.

so while im feeling like i need to do a large amount of sorting now, both to help us be more declutered and life in a calmer house and to help fit into a house with similar living spaces but way less storage and closets.  i also dont feel in a very good space logistically and even mentally to take this on now, i just know it needs to be done.

Maybe right now is not the best time for you to make decisions about getting rid of a lot of things.  I know that is probably bad advice for this thread..... I moved when my 1st child was 3 weeks old (after a c-section) and just ended up packing almost everything and making the decisions as I unpacked.  I just wasn't physically or emotionally ready to decide while I was packing. 

 

Before that move in a year or so, maybe you will be at a place where you can get rid of a bunch of stuff.  Don't be too hard on yourself... moving is amazingly stressful (even in-town) and I'm sure having twins makes it more than doubly so!

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#14 of 29 Old 09-16-2012, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah part of me is realistic and says now is not  the time, now is survival mod time. 

 

but im also feeling like to survive i must declutter. i'm not sure if i have what it takes to do it while i unpack. and really  i was hoping there was some things i could pack properly now and now deal with i unpack from my NEXT move.


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#15 of 29 Old 09-23-2012, 08:15 PM
 
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 on the other hand i feel like part of being a grown up is that your friends no longer help you move and no longer get paid in beer and pizza.

 

I must not be a grownup then. :D We're moving next week and our friends are going to help. They offered, we didn't coerce anyone. I have a friend who is coming to watch the baby while I pack, and probably a few others I could ask. I think this is part of what friends are for, helping as they're capable. It does vary with one's time of life and if all of your friends have small kids they are probably not going to want to do heavy lifting (most of ours don't have kids), and then once you reach the point where your kids are grown and all your friends have back problems they aren't going to help you move then either... but I don't think there's anything bad about taking the offers when they are made. 

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yeah part of me is realistic and says now is not  the time, now is survival mod time. 

 

but im also feeling like to survive i must declutter. i'm not sure if i have what it takes to do it while i unpack. and really  i was hoping there was some things i could pack properly now and now deal with i unpack from my NEXT move.

 

It's not all or nothing, too! There is probably some low-hanging fruit you can get rid of, and that may make you feel better without totally killing you.

 

Try to be gentle on yourself. You've been talking pretty negatively about yourself in this thread. From your posts I've seen on MDC, it sounds like you have done a lot with your twins and put a lot of energy into being the best parent you can be. And that is work that takes a lot of effort. You're only human, so don't beat yourself up for having let some other things slide in the course of taking care of your children. 

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#16 of 29 Old 09-24-2012, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 on the other hand i feel like part of being a grown up is that your friends no longer help you move and no longer get paid in beer and pizza.

 

I must not be a grownup then. :D We're moving next week and our friends are going to help. They offered, we didn't coerce anyone. I have a friend who is coming to watch the baby while I pack, and probably a few others I could ask. I think this is part of what friends are for, helping as they're capable. It does vary with one's time of life and if all of your friends have small kids they are probably not going to want to do heavy lifting (most of ours don't have kids), and then once you reach the point where your kids are grown and all your friends have back problems they aren't going to help you move then either... but I don't think there's anything bad about taking the offers when they are made. 

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yeah part of me is realistic and says now is not  the time, now is survival mod time. 

 

but im also feeling like to survive i must declutter. i'm not sure if i have what it takes to do it while i unpack. and really  i was hoping there was some things i could pack properly now and now deal with i unpack from my NEXT move.

 

It's not all or nothing, too! There is probably some low-hanging fruit you can get rid of, and that may make you feel better without totally killing you.

 

Try to be gentle on yourself. You've been talking pretty negatively about yourself in this thread. From your posts I've seen on MDC, it sounds like you have done a lot with your twins and put a lot of energy into being the best parent you can be. And that is work that takes a lot of effort. You're only human, so don't beat yourself up for having let some other things slide in the course of taking care of your children. 

thanks, you are right in that i am being a bit over stressed about this. moving/ packing and decluttering is THE major stress anxiety point in my life, so much so that this move being thrown at me so suddenly has pushed me to go see a mental health professional.

i am working on coming to grips with not decluttering right now, i am not in the mental or time shape for it. i will work on that "low hanging fruit for sure"  

i am also working on coming to grips with that i need to let the moving company pack a lot of my things and make this move more efficient, this is terrifying for me, a lot of my anxiety is about folks touching my stuff, invading y private spaces and seeing how sloppy i am.  have i mentioned how much a hate moving??

 

i do work very hard at being a great mom, and it is clearly getting in the way of doing much else and at times that needs to be ok. i stayed home to pack all weekend and then both my twins (and i) caught a nasty cold and got nothing but comforting and round the clock sniffle,gasp,sniffle nursing done. thats life, my babies needed me and i have nothing left after them


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#17 of 29 Old 09-25-2012, 07:45 AM
 
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#18 of 29 Old 09-25-2012, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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can you gals please stop it with the "friends help you move" line. i have no friends here of that type, they are all 3000 miles away, and i dont need to be reminded of it every day


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#19 of 29 Old 09-25-2012, 10:02 AM
 
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Sorry. I was coming at the notion that adulthood=nobody helps you move anymore, which I don't agree with. obv not everyone has help but for those who do, accepting help is compatible with being an adult. nak

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#20 of 29 Old 09-25-2012, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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its ok, what i meant originally was that when you are 19 or even 25, your friends rarely have something more amusing to do on a sunny weekend than to converge over giggles, pizza and beer or wine and cheese or whatever and help you/ laugh at you/ cry with you and you move to yet another strange apartment in a cool town.

At 38, i feel like thats what movers are for, have the friends over for the drinks for the garage sale or the unpacking amusements, but spare them the work, that is why they have a job they get paid to do the rest of the days.

not to say they cant help, and i have had friends drive 3 hours to help me move while my DH was deployed in 4th of july weekend, and wouldn't have turned it down for the world. I just also would not have expected it or even asked most folks.

 

but yeah, i dont have those friends here, so yeah, movers, and it will hurt the pocketbook. but hopefully save the sanity. and yeah im a bit depressed about hte lack of real friends around here, so sorry if i snapped at you


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#21 of 29 Old 09-25-2012, 10:44 AM
 
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s'ok. Hope it goes all right with the movers. Remember, it is their job and they have seen it all before, so even though it's weird to have strangers looking at your private stuff, they're really not going to be paying much attention to it. It's not like a gynecologist goes "ooh, another vagina" with every patient they examine. It's just what they do. 

 

I was on the fence about movers myself, but we are just moving locally and they're so darn expensive and we had several friends volunteer to help. Part of that may also be the stage of life our friends are in, not so much us. 

 

It sucks that you're so far from your friends. I'm sorry. 

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#22 of 29 Old 10-19-2012, 04:02 AM
 
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Hello.  

 

My name is Clare and I hope that this post is picked up on this thread . I live in a seaside town called Whitstable which is outside  London England. My reason for posting is because I felt now was a great time to set up the decluttering business, primarily due to the economic climate where for a long time our banks have been more unwilling to lend money for mortgages so people have found it more difficult to move.  I am working on the basis that rather than people moving, they may find that with a bit ( or lot ) of decluttering they can actually make where they currently live work for them.

 

I belong to APDO UK ,which is the professional body for UK declutterers and whilst an American lady here in Whitstable has set up my website and I am promoting my business as often as I can, I am aware that on a site called Mumsnet ( here in England ) and because I have been looking at the USA and Canada today, there are threads for people just offering support to anyone looking to declutter. 

 

Just for feedback purposes, it would be great to receive any replies if you think asking a professional declutterer to help you would be seen as a luxury and/or would their charges put you off ? 

 

I do get the impression that Americans and Canadians ( ? ) are more open to the idea of professional help .  Thank you for your time and any replies. My email address is clarebmarriott@gmail.com

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Hi Clare, if you would like to advertise on Mothering.com you can buy an advertising membership. Otherwise this sort of post is not really appropriate since I was not asking for professional help and you aren't even in a country that you could provide it to me.  You are most welcome to stick around, but you need to understand out User Agreement


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#24 of 29 Old 10-19-2012, 11:10 AM
 
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Ok, I'll leave it   Thank you 

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#25 of 29 Old 10-24-2012, 06:44 PM
 
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Oh mama, huge hugs to you. It really does suck to move with young children, do all the packing on your own, have a hoard of crap to pack and absolutely no help -- I should know, I did this three years ago.

 

We sold our house and had to move out in 6 weeks - I had a 3mo, 2yo and 4yo (all at home), suffering from constant headaches and I was on the brink of insanity. I'm into decluttering but for the sake of not going off my nut, I told Mr declutter go shove his idea up his ****.

 

Sheepish.gif

 

We moved. It was painful, let me tell you. There is just no easy way to move around when you've an infant and toddler (or two in one category as you do) and do it on your own.

 

We've moved homes twice since then and are now finally settled in our home.. Guess what? I'm finally unpacking boxes that were packed 3 years ago. Three years ago I would have cringed at the thought of not being able to declutter for such a long time, but it's amazing at how fast the time has gone by! The huge time gap also gave me a good amount of time to contemplate what I wanted at this stage of my life and where I was going. So now, I'm able to just open boxes, have a quick glance and effortlessly rid of items that no longer fit the current lifestyle/dream, whereas 3 years ago I really did not know where I was going and would have suffered much anxiety trying to figure it all out before the deadline. It's simply not worth the headache.

 

All I can say is, unless an item is staring you in the face and begging to be let go, then pack it up to deal with a later date.

 

And whilst we're on the topic.. Who cares what the moving guys think about your stuff?? I put too much pressure on myself too when it comes to events like this.. But I had to remind myself: It's not like they haven't seen it all before AND what real bearing does their opinion have in my life anyway?

 

Good luck mama!!


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#26 of 29 Old 10-24-2012, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well the move is going ok in some ways really sucky in others, most of the big stuff got moved and im struggling but slooooowly getting the remnants dealt with, ill be so much happier when i get to switch to unpacking mode, i do plan on doing a of decluttering on that end and it will feel great.

 

i want to mention in case i didn't earlier up the thread, in response to the "who cares about the moving guys seeing your stuff" comments.  as i mentioned before this is an anxiety, please don't be so easily dismissive of anxiety issues, when folks in my real life do that it is a horrible trigger for them to get way way worse.  please have some compassion for that anxiety is a mental disorder that while super irational is super real to the folks gripped by it. if you know someone in real life with deals with this, please spare them that pep talk, it does not help and can really hurt.

this is not about me being simply embarrassed by strangers seeing my stuff, this is me being terrified, having panic attacks and not sleeping. it is not rational, it is not based on any past real experience, that is what makes it a disorder.


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#27 of 29 Old 10-24-2012, 09:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

well the move is going ok in some ways really sucky in others, most of the big stuff got moved and im struggling but slooooowly getting the remnants dealt with, ill be so much happier when i get to switch to unpacking mode, i do plan on doing a of decluttering on that end and it will feel great.

 

i want to mention in case i didn't earlier up the thread, in response to the "who cares about the moving guys seeing your stuff" comments.  as i mentioned before this is an anxiety, please don't be so easily dismissive of anxiety issues, when folks in my real life do that it is a horrible trigger for them to get way way worse.  please have some compassion for that anxiety is a mental disorder that while super irational is super real to the folks gripped by it. if you know someone in real life with deals with this, please spare them that pep talk, it does not help and can really hurt.

this is not about me being simply embarrassed by strangers seeing my stuff, this is me being terrified, having panic attacks and not sleeping. it is not rational, it is not based on any past real experience, that is what makes it a disorder.

 

I'm going to PM you. xx


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#28 of 29 Old 10-25-2012, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to explain something to folks with the hope that the next little girl does not grow up with issues like mine and if she does someone understands why and helps her.

My anxiety is a crippling thing for me and it is also nearly just about my belongings and home. Sadly I have a pretty good idea what triggered it..

 

As I child I was in a very wandering hippy lifestyle. We toured with the Dead, wet to a lot of festivals and gatherings and moved A LOT. Living in busses, on friends couches was common place. and each time we moved I would usually loose things, the adults around me did not seem to value any sort of consistently and maybe even liked to start fresh. but they failed to take in to consideration the effect of non willingly loosing ones stuff when you are young and love something.

 

over the years i had lost my childhood blanket (not a little snugly, but a full blanket that was gift from my mom) and nearly every toy i can remember having, lost or gone before i was anywhere near done playing with it. most always becasue od the nomadic style of out family and friends and the lact of respect for the impact it had on me

 

But there is sometimes a price to pay for what some would just call radical decluttering. A little girl that got more and more attached to each one of those little things that would up missing each time she woke in a different place.

 

I grew to place a ridiculous amount of importantance on simple everyday things and even things that some would consider trash, if I could associate them to an event in my life. I would treasure them and surround myself with them. And stress hugely when it logically because time to let them go.

This is one of the ways hoarding starts.

 

It has only been thru shear willpower that I keep above water and the angelic superpowers of just a handful of friends that really see my darkest sides that I avoid being consumed with this. I was once overrun with it and it took 5 years of digging to break free, it has been managed since then, but only barely at times.

 

I say all this not to address me but to address how kids and their belongings and attachments are handled. Please take them into account when "decluttering". Teach them to do it in a good way. Respect them if that are having trouble with it somedays. Listen to them if they have worries. While falling over yourself to cater to those worries might not be healthy, being dismissive, even with "pep talks" is often a very counterproductive road as well.

 

 

thanks for listening

 

 

Edited in the light of day when i was feeling calmer


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#29 of 29 Old 10-26-2012, 12:28 AM
 
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Adorkable, ... thank you for writing your last few posts.

 

it is helping me feeling better about my struggles regarding decluttering

i feel vastly non-understood by most people around me (luckily for me, some people i value do restpect me even if they don't understand me & my struggles ...)

so have been making a little progress, but rather very little progress, in the past few years ...

in spite of actively trying to find help of some sort

 

when i read you, at least, i don't feel alone (although i have not had the same nomadic & traumatic lifestyle as you had, i feel for the little girl you were and her heart aches at the time .... body cells have some sort of memory even if we are not aware of it on a conscious level ... so i do get that you can have panic attacks now just at the though that something might happen that would be reminiscent of past trauma ....)

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