I try my best to fight my family’s genetic pack rat gene, but it is a struggle. I am embarrassed to say that I still have boxes from my old house in the basement (never unpacked) from moving about six years ago. Obviously, I don’t need the stuff if I have not used it for over six years, but I can’t bring myself to go through it and get rid of things.
For those of you that know me, I am not a super emotional person. So why would I emotionally struggle with getting rid of clutter you ask? Well, for the most part, I don’t have an emotion attachment to the item to be discarded I have an emotional attachment to the money it cost me. So nothing leaves.
So there I stood in my basement at the beginning of January with a BIG GOAL I wanted to accomplish. My goal is to turn one of the rooms in our basement into a rec room for our family.
My husband and kids are all on board, and it is already partially finished so it should be smooth sailing from here right? NOPE!! Remember those boxes I mentioned from my old house? They are stacked in this room along with many other boxes over flowing with STUFF that we haven’t touched in a LONG time. I made the decision to start chipping away at the clutter disaster.
I started the battle by attacking the clothes I have saved for the girls. My big girls are nine years old, and I have been getting hand me downs and gifted clothes since before they were born. Also, my younger sister received hand me downs and gifted clothes as well. Well putting them all together we had enough clothes to dress a whole classroom of girls from size newborn to 5T!
So my younger sister came over, and we started the battle. When going through clothes, the girls have grown out of once in a while I would come across an outfit that was one of their favorites, and I would hesitate on giving it up thinking about how they wanted to live in it 24/7.
About four large totes into the battle I had a moment of clarity, most of those clothes were hand me downs to me; my big girls wore them, then my niece, then Morgan and now passing some to my younger niece. The clothes have memories (most of them caught in photographs) and if they have survived someone else deserves to enjoy them too.
I do not need to keep that many clothes “just in case” we decide to have another baby right? As we continued to go through clothes, we easily narrowed it down to one tote per size and had a huge mountain of clothes to donate or sell.
After going through most of the clothes, things have started to become a little easier as I start to move on to other items in the basement. If a game is missing pieces, it is gone. If something is broken and I haven’t fixed it by now, I never will so it is gone.
If I feel it is something of real value I will try to sell the item, with a time frame in mind, but for the most part, the items have fulfilled their useful life. And that is the trick…to keep going, keep sorting through the clutter and don’t get stuck on how much you paid for it but how much it was used. Momentum I have found is my new best friend.
Once I stop however and momentum is gone, and it is hard to get started again so even 10 minutes a day keeps my head in the game.
Emotional attachment to clutter doesn’t always have to mean you are a hoarder or overly sentimental. For me, it feels like I am throwing money away, for you it may be something different. If you are struggling with clutter, don’t give up. The accomplishment you will feel when you are done will be worth the battle.
Do you emotionally struggle with clutter? Are you sentimental or is it something else like me?