Do you have a room in your home with an area that is totally dedicated to a collection of [fill in blank]? You rarely look at your collection these days, and while each item might hold a certain interest to you, as a whole the collection is really just ‘there’, but does not really bring you a lot of excitement.
Let’s be clear about this: even if you might not think of yourself as a collector, I think you’ll find that you are. And if you look closely at your belongings, you might even discover more collections that you would have thought possible!
Why? Because we all are collectors, to varying degrees, it is in our nature. A collection could be anything, really. A bed covered in cuddly toys, a full set of books from specific authors, every single CD from that obscure band in New Zealand, a windowsill completely covered in orchids, a stamp collection, a 24 piece set of china plates, a box full of pens, a wardrobe filled with 18 versions of the same suit, … do you see where I’m going with this?
For the purposes of decluttering, I would describe anything as a ‘collection’ that you add to on a regular basis, even without feeling particularly passionate about it. Very often we collect things out of habit, even after the original reasons for starting the collection have faded. That is not to say those reasons weren’t good ones, nor that the collection has lost its value and importance. However, we ultimately have to acknowledge that there is a good measure of habit to any sort of accumulation of similar items. In some extreme cases, that habit can develop into an obsession and lead to hoarding. While these two last afflictions need to be looked at by a professional therapist, the simple ‘habit’ is something that you could eventually break on your own.
The basic act of recognising that the original spark in your collection is no longer present could help you detach the emotional side of a collection and bring the realisation that a collection could also be clutter!
When that realisation strikes, it may be time to re-evaluate the necessity of a collection. Time to determine if you could potentially identify certain parts of the collection that you are REALLY attached to, while discarding elements that have lost their meaning to you personally. This is not an easy process, of course, but it has merit: at the end of that purge, whatever is left will have a particular importance to you, make you happy. In addition, you may have gained a better understanding why things have accumulated in the first place. And that will – to some degree – help you avoid making the same mistake again in the future.
Here's my tip: think of yourself as a 'collector' and look around ... is there anything that grabs your attention? Maybe it's time to re-evaluate that stuff.
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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.