Now it gets tough……

vintage music antique radio

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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!

 

 

Now it gets a little more difficult……

man in bus

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Now that you have done an awesome job decluttering areas in your home where you have little or no emotional attachment to the items, it is time to move on to a more difficult task.  Your next step is to choose areas where you have moderate attachments to the items, which in my case is clothing and books.

Although I am a minimalist in my day-to- day clothing, I have still held on to some “special” articles……….a few dresses I wore to friends’ weddings and other pieces of clothing with special memories.  I have kept them all with a desperate hope that I would be able to fit into them again someday, despite it being over 15 years.

It is healthy to keep these items?  Probably not………….every time I see them I immediately feel like a complete failure for not being able lose the weight needed to fit into the clothing, even after all of these years. So, I have to ask myself, even if I become skinny again, is this something I would wear?  I most cases, the answer is no.  So, we need to be honest with ourselves.  We need to love ourselves enough to let go of the past so we can move on.   I realize this is a much scarier proposition for those of us with CI as many of us live in fear of what the future may hold.  But here is one area of your life that YOU are able to have complete control.  While cleaning, you are able to choose every single item you  keep in your life.  You choose what you look at every day, what to use to create a peaceful living space that provides a place for rest and relaxation.  There is no way that living in clutter is beneficial to healing nor is keeping items that make you feel bad.  So, you can do it.  Dig deep, surround yourself only with things that bring a smile and realize you are in control.

………..until next time.

You are a superhero! (no matter how crappy you feel)

 

 

 

Out with the old, so you can let in the new.

brown and grey leather sofa with throw pillows

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I believe, with my whole heart, that the most important thing a person with CI can do (besides taking great care of yourself) is to reduce clutter in your life.  I know this is a wildly popular topic – one that is covered everywhere from blogs, YouTube channels, books and magazines dedicated specifically for the purpose to teaching people how or the reasons to declutter.

Early on in my diagnoses I realized I needed to jump on this simplifying/decluttering bandwagon if I was going to be able to navigate the CI life with any success.  But getting to a more simple life (or as simple as it can be in this world) has been an ongoing process and one that put me on a quest to accomplish this goal.

I searched on-line and in bookstores for reading material spurred on with the hope that I would read THE  passage that would enable me to create my new living space.  Numerous books and many reading hours later, I attempted different cleaning and decluttering approaches and was ultimately frustrated with the end results.  I quickly learned no book I had read (I realized there could be some out there and I just haven’t found them yet) touches on how difficult it is to declutter when you are chronically ill.  Decluttering is a monumental and exhausting task, even if your home wouldn’t make it on an episode of Hoarders or Buried Alive – because let’s be honest…….that is a whole other issue.

The most important point is that you have to want to declutter your home.  Despite all the benefits to having less stuff around:  more visually pleasing living space which creates less stress and less stress is important for all of us with CI; cleaner air because of the reduction of  dust;  you will know what you have which can save you money and we all need more of that to pay for our ridiculous endless medical bills; easier to get to what you need therefore using less energy finding/retrieving items; less guilt looking at unorganized and cluttered spaces……….really the list could go on and on.  But first you must really want to take on this task because it is an enormous undertaking requiring patience, persistence, dedication, introspection and – the big one – the ability to let go of the past.

Letting go of the past is a hard one for most of us.  We never imagined our life would turn out this way……….we were so energetic, full of life, bursting with goals and dreams and our living space reflected that – filled with things that we use to be able to enjoy but now they have become a constant reminder of what is not to be.  Letting go of these things can be very difficult as we tend to see this purging as giving up and giving in to the stark reality we don’t want to accept.  Instead of focusing on my past, I had to force myself to instead view my decluttering episodes as events to make room for my future.  Was this easy, hell no,  and it still isn’t.  But living in the past only holds you back from what could be.

Until next time………………

p.s.  Don’t forget YOU are a superhero!