Taking into account these emotions is an important part of decluttering, and you have to ascertain which things have true meaning in your life. Some things we keep out of habit, laziness, obligation, or lack of funds, and some hold proper meaning, even though they appear to be ugly even to ourselves! It is a tricky road to separate ‘meaningful’ from ‘true clutter’, but you really have to learn that skill if you want to let go of things at all.
A house turns into a home when it contains things that we love, that we feel comfortable with, that we need to survive. Life isn’t just about the necessities, of course, but neither should our homes be overrun by things we are emotionally attached to. Emotional attachment can become a negative influence in our life and the way we deal with this will determine if we live in the past, burdened with memories good and bad, or if we cherish some memories and move on to enjoy the present.
Living is very much about change, and if we hang on too long to things that remind us of the past, we are in danger of not moving forward and embracing the future any longer. Letting go of things that do not serve us any more in the present is, therefore, an important part of growing as a person and moving forward. You may have noticed that things you have cherished at first tend to be of little consequence a couple of years later. You may hang on to those things for old times’ sake, but really their usefulness has ceased and you must learn to let go to make space for whatever is more important to you at present. That doesn’t imply that you should throw everything out you do not use any more, far from it: there are things of lasting importance. The trick is to learn and separate the things that have lost their meaning and have moved into a ‘habit’ space (the real clutter) from the objects that hold true emotional meaning.
Some things in our homes hold negative emotions, like a present you really did not like but you keep out of obligation, and some things are ambiguous like the ugliest painting you can imagine that has been given to you by your favourite sister who passed away years ago. In both cases, imagine how they make you feel: the present has done its job, and of course you can remember your sister without the ugly painting. Both items – at this point in time – are negative influences that reinforce themselves each time you see them. Is this the best way to remember the giver of the present or your sister? No. Get rid of the negative and cherish the memories without the bad emotions associated with the objects!
Life is short. There is no point burdening yourself with constant reminders of bad times. Keep it fresh, keep it good, move with the times and don’t let the past hold you back. Memories will always be there, you don’t need a reminder.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.