mental health

Why am I emotionally attached to my clutter?

Being emotionally attached to things is a huge reason why so many of us have too much stuff . Sue Rae (aka Sorted by Sue) runs through how to process being emotionally attached to clutter. And how to declutter emotionally charged or sentimental items, inherited items or gifts, without that sense of guilt.

why am I emotionally attached to stuff?

“A lot of times people hang on to a lot of stuff.  Part of this is not wanting to let go of the past and being slightly afraid of what might be coming down the line in the future. And not really living in the present moment. Once you can go through,  reset and cleanse your home you’ll feel a weight lifted from your shoulders. A quick question to really ask yourself is do you love it and do you use it. That could be your grater, you might not love it but you need to use it. And if you can put it in those two categories, love it and use it and if not lose it.”

why do I feel guilty about decluttering?

“I know that a lot of people are worried about ‘I spent a lot of money on that I don’t want to let it go’. The thing is if it’s not adding value to your life, it’s weighing you down.

I would say that sentimental is absolutely the hardest category to tackle. I generally tell people tackle it last because by then your organisation,  decluttering and decision-making skills will be at their strongest. The thing with sentimental stuff is we have a massive amount of emotional attachment to things.

Let’s say your grandmother knitted you a sweater when you were 12 and your grandmother is no longer around. So, you’ve hung on to this sweater, you have moved apartments and it’s in a box in your basement. If I  asked you what your memories of your grandma are, you may say she  took us to the science museum and she taught us how to cook. Your memories are in your head and your heart, not in that sweater.”

what can I do to reduce my feelings of guilt?

“People feel the same way about things that they have been gifted. They feel as though if someone gave them a gift and they don’t love it that they should keep it. They also have this crazy misconception the person might come round to their house and expect to see it out.  Here’s the thing let it go!

If you love it great keep it, but if you don’t love it then let it go to someone who may be able to use or  get value out of it. Giving away also fosters a good sense of community. It also helps with taking away the weight of these objects. If you have a lot of sentimental stuff you’re going to be moving it from home to home to home.

I think the hardest part is really letting go of the fantasy self. This is where people are like ‘I’ve got my roller skates from when I was 17. And I’m still moving them from apartment to apartment because my fantasy selfie is that I’m going rollerblading again.’ At my age I’m probably not doing it so why not let it go to a kid that’s going to be really interested in rollerblading and having fun with them. Minimalism may not be for everybody but I think that the path to decluttering is something that everybody should explore.” – Sue


Interviewee: Sue Rae

Sue Rae is a professional organiser who helps busy people declutter, purge, organize and streamline their belongings, to help improve their space and live a more meaningful life.

To check out Sues services click here.

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