In my practice, I often help my clients to figure out which of their items are still relevant and which ones are not. I use the ‘relevant’ aspect very freely, and clearly it is not in my power to make any judgment about what is relevant and what isn’t. That is entirely up to that person. What I do provide, though, is an unbiased view and input into an excess of mementos, an overload of items.
Most of those clients will quickly understand the difference between an item that evokes a true memory and others that hang on for dear life with emotions like guilt, fear or stupidity: if it’s a gift you may feel guilt towards the giver, some items instil fear of losing money or make you feel stupid for ever having bought such a truly useless item. All of those, however, can be addressed as they tend to be rooted in some level of assumption about the state of things, and assumptions can be replaced or removed altogether in a relatively short time.
However, some clients are different, and their inability to let go is rooted in other elements. That could be fear of the void – they feel the need to fill any empty space in their home to overcome some level of emotional backlog. It could also be a fear of losing those memories because there is an onset of old age memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease in the family.
I am astounded how many of my clients are unable to let go of items that remind them of the bad times! I understand why the good times would be wonderful to be remembered, but the bad moments? Why remember those? Letting go of a bad memory, even if a good one could be replacing it later on, appears to be hard work for many a troubled soul, because that replacement could be another bad, or worse, one.
Hanging on to memories is a perfect way to keep you stuck in the past, for better or worse. What reason could be good enough to avoid any new future memories that are out there, waiting to be experienced?
I believe that we all need to declutter our memories on occasion in order to make space for new, better ones. I am certain that there is only so much space for things a person can remember and enjoy and sometimes it is valuable to let go of whatever memories we keep in the belief that they are important and unmissable.
If you only ever see that item when you attempt to declutter your home, but are perfectly able to remember the occasion you associate with it outside of those moments, maybe you don’t need the item in the first place. Keeping something hidden under the assumption that one day it will remind you of someone, something or somewhere is no good reason to keep it. Use it, display it, live with it … or let it go!
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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.