This mental shift towards attachment to things leads to several typical outcomes.
First of all, it is likely that a lot more items take on important roles of emotional support in their life. In that case, many items that others would consider purely practical or decorative take on a different, much more pertinent role for them: these items then turn into what I would describe as “super memorabilia”. Remember: memorabilia serve to evoke a memory of something important in the past – be it a joyful memory or a sad one – and that is perfectly fine (in moderation). Super memorabilia are not related to something in the past, but to an emotional state that very much lives in the present.
For comparison purposes only: imagine that some of your friends had to die to cut down the number of friends, to make dealing with the rest more manageable… that is what it would feel like if you were to remove any of those “super memorabilia” from such a person’s life. Of course you would furiously resist any such attempts!
Having many such items with emotional meaning around has a secondary drawback: those things need to stay visible, accessible and touchable in order to fulfil their purpose. That means they are less likely to be tidied away, and having potentially a lot of such items around will ultimately mean that even purely functional items are never returned a place that makes more practical sense. Even if that plate they just ate their dinner from has no emotional meaning and could be cleaned and put away, the fact that many other items are sitting there for emotional reasons will make it less likely for the other stuff to be tidied up. It’s the mother of all vicious circles!
As you can see, dealing with clutter may pose additional problems when the person is also prone to loneliness attacks, or actually has nobody in their life. If anything, such clients require even more of a soft touch because taking away any of those emotional anchors from their environment will end up making them feel even more lonely than before.
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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.