We are defined by our stuff.
In just about every home I’ve decluttered and organized, I have discovered one or two types of items that clients accumulate, and those items are different for everyone. But it does give me a quick snapshot of what each client values most. Let me give you some examples you might relate to:
- Are you attached to books? Then you are not alone – this is a popular one. Many of my clients have amassed 1,000 books or more. For most, books represent knowledge; book collectors love to learn and want quick access to information.
- Are you attached to your children’s toys, baby clothes and school artwork, even though the kids have out-grown them? This is very common. Holding on to these things can indicate that you attach great value to your identity as a mom/dad.
- Are you attached to things from your early days, like your high school varsity jacket, your prom dress or your old record collection? This could represent a longing for simpler times with fewer responsibilities and obligations.
- Are you attached to your trophies, awards and other forms of accolades you’ve received? (I can certainly relate to this one). It often means you value approval, accomplishment and credibility.
I could go on and on, as I find this so fascinating and revealing. If you didn’t see your group of items in the examples above, let me know by commenting below, and I’ll respond with my thoughts.
Our stuff defines important moments in our lives and the reason we get emotionally attached to it is probably because of the memory connected to it. Gaining insight into why we continue to buy and keep certain things can be very helpful because awareness is often the first step towards change.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting you get rid of the things you value most. In fact, quite the opposite: honor those items instead.
Here are some ways to show your valuables the respect they deserve:
- Keep your books out of damp basements and display them on tall bookcases, organized in a way that makes it easy for you to access them. Treat yourself to a beautiful step-stool to reach the top shelves.
- Gather only the most treasured toys, baby clothes and kids’ artwork and lovingly create a memory box for each child to keep these all in one place. Clean the baby clothes and wrap fragile items in tissue paper. Label boxes with child’s name. Another way to express this strong value is to start a journal where you can write motherly tips and memories that you can pass down to your children.
- Find a picture of yourself wearing your varsity jacket, or your prom dress, and put it in a nice frame. If you don’t have any photos, put it on now or lay it on your bed and take a picture of it for your album. Show your kids and share some stories from the old days.
- Choose the awards and trophies that mean the most to you and display them on a bookcase, shelf or mantel rather than shoving them in the corner of the spare room closet.
You see, decluttering and organizing your home is not about getting rid of everything. It’s about surrounding yourself with the things that speak to you, make you feel happy, and reflect the person that you are.
However…. (You knew this part was coming, right?)
I encourage you to limit how many of these things you keep; otherwise, they will go from being a joy to being a burden. Decide what you feel is a reasonable limit, and challenge yourself to stick to it.
Don’t forget to comment below on what you are attracted and attached to.