Three Keeping Clutter Stories You Tell Yourself
What clutter stories are behind your piles of things?
Behind every pile, box of stuff and bursting closet there is a story. I’ve discovered keeping clutter is just an accumulation of stories we tell ourselves.
I’ve discovered keeping clutter is just an accumulation of stories we tell ourselves.
Right now I’m decluttering kids toys.
I’ve stored them neatly in plastic boxes in my garage for over 10 years. They took up a lot of room, I rearranged them, cleaned them and worried about dust and decay.
I’d look at them once a year to remember how much fun my children had playing with them and imagine in the very far away future my very cute grandchildren coming over to my home to play with them.
So I had three stories going on in my head.
- I spent money on them and I was being smart by keeping them. I was being frugal.
- The second was my children and grandchildren would visit me often because I had these wonderful toys to play with.
- The third was they were made of wood and would last forever.
Well, I got really tired of all these plastic boxes piled high in my garage. We moved and the plastic boxes were a pain to deal with. My kids don’t care whether I keep them or not. My estimation is that I may be storing them for another 15 to 20 years. And to tell the truth the wooden toys aren’t looking so good anymore. So I gave them away to my friend’s toddler who just loves them.
Boy, did getting rid of them feel great. Think about it.
Everything you store has a story behind it and when the story has more pull than being freer and having more space, you keep the stuff.
Also the stories are comfortable, like wearing your old slippers or a sweater you’ve had for years,(in fact you may be keeping an old sweater or slippers that really need to go). They are predictable, they make you feel safe and good about keeping stuff that takes up room for the things you really need to use.
Now stories aren’t bad. Stories are interesting and fun and connecting.
It’s the story you keep telling yourself over and over to keep the things you really don’t like, need or even use that makes the clutter really build up.
Here are the three stories that you may be telling yourself over and over that keep you in clutter.
I know I may need it!
I may need it, I may use it again. This is such a classic story and one of my favourite reasons to keep what I don’t want. It comes up time after time. I’ve seen this story with sewing stuff yellowed with age, pictures that have never been hung on a wall and clothes that haven’t fit for over ten years.
What I have come to believe because I have seen it again and again that if you don’t wear or use something in a year, chances are you never will. so instead ask yourself, Will I use it this year?
If you haven’t consider it’s time to go.
I spent money on it so no matter what I’m keeping it!
I spent money on it, it is too good to throw away. This is the ultimate excuse for hanging onto things that don’t work at every level.
So these items you spent money on get packed into the garage, put up in the attic or basement and shoved into the back on the walk in closet you can’t walk into any more. Reselling the item takes the sting out of a shopping mistake but keeping it just takes up space.
I don’t love it but I’m keeping it!
I don’t like it, I may like it, I will force myself to like it. I will make myself wear it, cook with it, use it. Life is too short to keep stuff that doesn’t have value, either visually or functionally. So if it doesn’t make your workload easier, or add beauty to your life, let this story go.
Take a look at the stories you tell yourself around your clutter and maybe you just don’t need to keep this stuff any more.
Tell yourself some new stories. Make room for the new. Create some space. Know that even if you let go of things you’ll still have more than enough.