The really difficult task of decluttering spaces, items or boxes full of stuff that you have a strong and sentimental attachment to is next. This is when things get really tough and unfortunately can lead to stress, anxiety, and an overall feeling of sadness. This is the stage where many people, not just those of us with CI, give up because hard decisions need to be made and feelings of loss are awakened.
Those of us who have had the unfortunate experience of losing someone(s) precious and dear to our hearts know how hard it is to handle inherited items or items that were given to us before s/he passed. We keep the goods stored away believing that holding onto their stuff keeps our loved one closer. To get rid of anything could be seen as a rejection of that person, the “willingness” to let go of our memories and fear they will soon be forgotten.
Realistically, we all know that the items are not the person and the memories of our loved one do not live in the items. But for those of us with CI, we live with the uncertainty of our health, and as we declutter emotional items we unconsciously deal with our own mortality. Our unpleasant thoughts create even more stress and since we deal with more than our share every day………….we shove it all back in a box and tell our self, maybe another day!
This is why I believe it is so important during the decluttering process to physically hold every single item you have in your home. I know, this sounds ridiculous and overwhelming and time consuming and you are right……….it is. But, it is the only way you are going to be able to truly declutter and make appropriate decisions. No where is touching every item more important than when dealing with the sentimental stuff.
While going through that box of knick-knacks from grandma………….touch each and every item individually. Does it make you happy? Do you remember where she had it in her home? Is this something important enough for you to place in your active living space? Would giving it away bring you emotional pain? How about a box of old pictures………..do you know who those people are? If not, are the pictures even labeled? Is there someone else who would enjoy the photos more than you?
As you touch each item, you can feel it’s vibe, it’s memory (or lack thereof) and sense what you should or shouldn’t keep. Maybe there is a treasure in a box that means absolutely nothing to you but would be beneficial to another. Or maybe there is something worth money you don’t care about that you could sell and pay off a medical bill. Hey, maybe that is why it is there in the first place!
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing inherently wrong keeping items boxed away. But are we really honoring our special people by doing so? Would your loved one really want you to have your basement, storage room, attic, or garage stuffed with their past possessions? I highly doubt it.
As you work through the difficult items to declutter, just remember that you are not discarding memories and you are not going to forget about grandpa because you only kept 2 of his 15 fishing poles. Instead, you are blessing others with your loved ones generosity and you are putting Aunt Martha’s beautiful vase on a shelf where you get to enjoy looking at it every single day.
…………until next time.
You are a superhero!