Have you ever tried to let go of something that you knew deep down you didn't want anymore, but before you even get the chance to put it into a donation pile, a little voice inside your head convinces you to put it back? I can't get rid of that... I know the feeling, and many other women do too. Maybe it's a gift from a loved one. Perhaps it's something you've been storing for a friend or family member until they get a bigger place. Or, it could even be the belongings of a relative who has passed away. What do all of these situations have in common? They all involve other people's stuff….
Several years ago, before I started on this journey of decluttering and simplifying my life, I had a very interesting conversation with an acquaintance. She revealed to me casually that the home she shared with her parents and younger brother had recently burned to the ground. "Oh, how awful, I’m so sorry!", was all I could say to that. "Yeah, but it was kind of a good thing, too." She said. "We needed to start over."
As a child, I spent almost all of my unstructured downtime writing stories, singing my favorite songs, and playing dress up. Like so many children, I had tremendous creative energy that I unleashed without giving it a second thought. As I my schooling progressed, even as the focus on my life because increasingly academic, I held onto my creative dreams. I even started college as a theater major. As some point, though, I switched majors, feeling like it just wasn’t practical. Like I just wasn’t good enough. I continued to write throughout college and my twenties, but something felt missing. Something felt blocked. One way or another, I would pick up supplies for different activities and would-be creative projects, but they would all just sit there….
I was catching up with a friend recently who told me that, since we had last seen each other, she had undergone a big purge at her home and had mixed feelings about the results. While it was a relief to let go of many of the items that were taking up space, she also had regrets about some things that, in hindsight, she wishes she would have kept. What if I need this in the future? This situation is one of the worst-case-scenarios that runs through people's minds when decluttering. Unfortunately, this fear can hold a lot of people back from making meaningful progress.
Recently I was working with a client who had spent a lot of time decluttering and organizing before we started working together. One of the biggest pains for her was her mudroom. It was crowded (actually, her word was “constipated”) with all kinds of stuff that she had decided to get rid of - but she was at a loss of how to literally remove this perfectly good clutter from her space. It didn’t feel right for her to just throw so much usable stuff in the trash and call it a day. Those of us who are aware of our society’s overwhelming trash problem are challenged by this…